Departures by Emmet Sandberg
Exhibition Dates: March 7 – April 20
These “Departures” examine how I process experience and make sense of the world. The act of redacting reveals how the sorting and organizing of experience allows us to explore the references and associations used to create the narratives that situate us in our time and place. – Emmet Sandberg
200 Days: A Life in the Quotidian
Exhibition Dates: March 7 – April 20
“When Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts first approached me for this solo exhibit over a year ago, I knew I wanted to “go small” but didn’t quite know which medium to showcase. I also wanted to make a ridiculous quantity of pieces. Enter drypoint! And tininess! And watercolor! I wanted to challenge myself and create very tiny prints – each of the prints measures only 1.5×2”. Every one of them is a drypoint print first, and probably 95% of them are enhanced with watercolor.
Beginning on April 1, 2018 and ending on October 20 of that year, I created a drypoint print a day. That’s 200 days (give or take three days, because I just forgot). Each piece began with a photo I took that day, and I gave myself rules – no going out of your way to get a photo; no “cheating” and taking a week’s worth of photos in one day; and try not to “pose”.
Because I had no idea what was going to happen on any given day, this project was a complete surprise to create. I couldn’t plan for anything! It was so exciting to see how my prints turned out once I had created the drypoint print from the photo, and again after applying the watercolor.
This exhibit is site-specific; I purposely made 200 pieces for the exhibit and the size they are to fit the gallery. The only thing I knew immediately was that I wanted the prints to be framed identically and to be hung in a straight line, like a “timeline” or journal of my days.
I hope you enjoy the exhibit as much as I enjoyed creating it for this beautiful space! Approximately 1500 hours went into the creation of these little friends, and it is most certainly my magnum opus at this point in my career.
But something else happened along this 200-day journey – I fell in love with my work again. I would catch myself tearing up with happiness when creating these small friends, because I realized just how lucky I am to be able to do this. It was the most important thing to come from this exhibit.” – Mel Kolstad
Price list for artwork is available in our lobby at our front desk. Call 920-921-5410 for artwork inquiries or stop in Monday through Friday 10 – 5 pm or Saturday 11 – 3 pm.
Cropping to Circles by Kendall McMinimy
Exhibition will be on view from April 25 – June 8, 2019
Cropping to Circles
“A mechanical marvel, Central Pivot Irrigation Systems deliver water to otherwise dry lands and food to an otherwise hungry planet. With outstretched steel arms, these wheeled giants twirl slow-motion pirouettes of simulated rainfall pumping atomized sprays from groundwater reserves far below the surface.
As an outgrowth of the “Green Revolution,” center pivot irrigation is a system that encircles multiple conflicting truths—a worldwide revolution in food production is also complicit in the depletion of groundwater; humanitarian aid aligns with hegemonic order; global market forces allow and deny local economies; a system simultaneously produces and diminishes.
These structures, chasing their own tails, morph into lumbering memento mori and echo our own existence rotating through the repetitive rhythms and cycles of life. The images serve as reminders of a reality that is tethered to an ever-increasing detailed, ubiquitous, and immediate ease of technological and satellite surveillance.
Minimal signifiers amplify ambiguities, create associations, and stretch the legibility of representation. Vacillating between the familiar and the fictitious, the work reveals little of the subject’s true spatial immensity, nor the monumental investment represented.
Viewed through the particulars of place, this project is an inquiry into circular arguments, the fluidity of truths encircled by a framework, and the cyclical acceptance and rejection of those truths. It is also an invitation to consider the “in between,” the budding potential revealed in the voids and blanks of the prints. Shifting with time, these breaks from conformity illuminate the continual shifts in the topographies of possibilities.”
Kendall McMinimy uses photography, digital art, printmaking and sculpture to explore structure and ideology as filtered through place.
Stretching the legibility of representation, his work vacillates between the familiar and the fictitious, amplifying ambiguities and associations to allow for continual shifts in the topographies of possibilities.
Notable awards and exhibits include: “Critical Mass 50, ” GuatePhoto International Photography Festival, Guatemala City, Guatemala (2015); “Process,” Photo Center NW Gallery, Seattle (2014); The Print Center’s 88th Annual International Competition, The Print Center, Philadelphia (2014); and Review/CENTER, Santa Fe. He has participated in numerous solo and group shows around the United States, and “Cropping to Circles” was published in Harpers Magazine (March 2014).
McMinimy holds an MA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Born and raised in the High Plains of Kansas, he has resided in Wisconsin since 1998. He is a frequent guest lecturer and teaches Digital Arts at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, and Photography at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Seismic Shifts, Structural Anomalies, and Impossible Dreams by Liz Miller
Exhibition will be on display from June 13 – July 27, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, June 14, 6 – 8 pm
A curator-led tour will begin at 6 pm exploring the current art exhibitions.
Free admission and open to the public, meet the artist as you view her work. Cash bar and snacks available.
Artist’s Exchange: Friday, June 14, 5:30 pm
Free admission and exclusive for THELMA members, listen to a Q&A talk and learn about her process, inspiration, and execution of her work. Cash bar and snacks available.
Liz Miller received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the University of Minnesota. Miller’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Her awards include a McKnight Professional Development Grant from Forecast Public Art, a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, an MCAD/Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and five Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Miller recently completed residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, NC. She lives and works in Good Thunder, MN and is Professor of Installation and Drawing at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
My work explores the fallibility of infrastructure and the precariousness of perception, as seen through a materially-intensive, process-based lens. I utilize undulating planar forms in conjunction with fabric and rope as a metaphor for shifting landscapes, altered topographies, and imagined realities. References to the natural world and the built environment collide in interludes that are alternately beautiful, absurd, menacing, and poetic, alluding to the complexity of our world. Tensions between fact/fiction and dimensionality/flatness are endlessly intriguing to me, playing out in my work as a dialogue between reality and illusion.
I have become fascinated with ropes and knotting as byproducts of my process. In my large-scale installations, knotted ropes provide tension that gives volume to otherwise flat materials. This technique has revealed the possibilities of knotting as an autonomous aesthetic expression. The varied use of rope and knotting across cultures and history ranges from utilitarian to decorative, and even deadly. I create interdependent knotted topographies that allude to both structure and malleability. The repeated act of tying by hand integrates an emphatic sense of strength, while the flexibility and nuance of the textile material ensures structural permutations. The resulting works are only quasi-architectural, providing metaphorical insight laced with humor as related to a variety of structural and systemic behavior.
Exhibition will be on display from August 1 – September 21, 2019
Lester O. Schwartz: A Retrospective
An exhibition of work by Lester O. Schwartz that spans his 8-decade career as a painter and sculptor
Artist Statement by daughter, Tanya Schwartz-Roeper
More than 80 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and memorabilia come together to trace the eight-decade long career of Lester O. Schwartz. This exhibit reflects the chronology of Schwartz’s life as he moved from his birthplace of Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Chicago, to traveling the world, and finally settling in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1944 as artist-in-residence at Ripon College. The exhibit begins with Schwartz’s childhood, continues through young adulthood, his career at Ripon College, the years following the untimely death of his wife and how he found his strength and energy to cope with the loss through the pursuit of art, and the last decade of his life after his stroke. Born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1912 to Russian-Jewish immigrants and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Schwartz was part of a flourishing art community in the 1930’s. Schwartz’s work evolved over time and this exhibit showcases his innovative exploration and experimentation over a range of media throughout his lifetime.
Lester O. Schwartz studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Imperial Art School in Tokyo, the Colarossi Academy in Paris, and the American Academy in Rome. He spent two years of study and travel around the world as the winner of the Edward L. Ryerson Traveling Fellowship in the late 1930’s. While a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Schwartz worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in both Wisconsin and Illinois as a commissioned artist creating murals, lithographs and paintings. In the 1940s he served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri where he was assigned the task of creating paintings for the chapel. Schwartz worked briefly as an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. In 1944 Schwartz founded the art department at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin and served as Artist in Residence and professor until his retirement in 1977.
In 1991 Schwartz turned his Green Lake, Wisconsin home and land into an art gallery and sculpture garden open to the public during the summer. He used the terrain as a living canvas upon which he created and placed his steel sculptures. His winters were spent traveling and painting all over the world including Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mediterranean locales.
After suffering a debilitating stroke in 1996, Schwartz’s daughter, Tanya, assisted her father in maintaining the art gallery and leading tours until his death in 2006 at the age of 93. Recipient of numerous awards in the 1930’s-1960’s, his work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, the Carnegie in Pittsburg, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Salon d’Automne in Paris. His paintings have been included in many one-man and group shows and in public and private collections around the world.
Now We Here: The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance by Vitus Shell
Exhibition will be on display from September 26 – November 9, 2019
My large scale paintings are geared toward the black experience, giving agency to people from this community through powerful images deconstructing, sampling, and remixing identity, civil rights, and contemporary black culture. In my work, I strive to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations by exploring and uncovering factors that contributed to the unfortunate relationship breakdown between the two.
Moreover, my layered, mixed media painting examines parallels between present day behaviors and attitudes that date back to African roots. With my current work, I continue experimenting with portraiture, acrylic paint, over-sized photocopies of early 20th century vintage advertisements and the incorporation of a foam-cut printing technique. My artistic goal is to exude the hip hop lifestyle with a southern vernacular. Through the use of the vintage advertisements allows me to create narrative based environments, which comment on stereotyping, bigotry, and oppression. The foamcut printing method provides me with the added layers to include text and icons, such as the minstrel images. Having spent much time researching graffiti art, I incorporate a variation of its characteristics, techniques, and unique aesthetics into my work such as paste-ups, stamps, and stencils. Using graffiti techniques allows me to challenge the viewer’s perceptions of what is considered low art or high art, which also addresses classism.
Exhibition will be on display from September 26 – November 9, 2019
“If I think about the universe, and what science tells us, life as we conceive of it appears almost infinitely rare. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t meditate on what I see as the utter scarcity of this human condition, or if I am to speak more inclusively, this life condition. I am unable to take for granted, at least for very long, that we are beings complete with consciousness, an ability to sense beyond ourselves, and to communicate our impressions and feelings. If we distinguish ourselves from the inanimate, we as conscious entities form but mere micro-specks within the vast milieu of non-living material and empty space. What are the odds?”
“Painting, while it covers much ground in terms of the various energies that drive the process, ultimately brings me back to this phenomenon, and with cause for celebration. While working, I often see myself operating as both creator and observer, somehow in charge, but never more than a step ahead of the painting itself. The work bears a life of its own, and I feel like only a catalyst at key moments of development. When I am satisfied with a piece and consider it complete, I find myself more witness than owner, as though the spirit of the image continues to pulse just beyond grasp.”
David Criner is an artist working in Chicago. In his recent work, he transforms material in pursuit of an image which celebrates the present moment of life and consciousness. He received a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois in 1991, an MFA in Painting from the University of Kansas in 1995, and has exhibited his work throughout the United States and Europe. David teaches in the Art Department at Northeastern Illinois University.
Exhibition will be on display from November 14, 2019 – January 4, 2020
Artist’s Exchange: Friday, January 3, 6 – 8 pm
Free admission and exclusive for THELMA members, listen to a Q&A talk and learn about his process, inspiration, and execution of his work. Cash bar and snacks available.
Diary of a Mad World
“My desire to mix word and image has led me to create my Diary of a Mad World portfolio. Here, I create images that appear to be grainy modernist styled black and white photographs. However, what the viewer sees as “grain” from a distance,become words as the viewer is drawn in closer to the image. The viewer is left to reconcile the connotation of the image and denotation of the words.
“The relationship between images and words can be traced back all the way to fourth century B.C. Greece to the Poet Simmias of Rhoades, who wrote his writings in the forms of images, much like the Futurist poets of the early 20th Century. The relationship between images and words in the visual arts is often tumultuous, and sometimes harmonious, but is undoubtedly a very rich part of the contemporary art dialogue.
“I use dynamic asymmetrical compositions to capture the viewer’s attention, and I use large-scale images for the space they allow for me to add minute details in the form of text. What the viewer sees as “grain” from a distance, become words as the viewer is drawn in closer to the image through the variety of styles in how the “grain” is arranged to create texture. The texture is sometimes more organic and chaotic, and other times will be more formally structured to create pattern. Sometimes the words are more visually obscure and other times they are more visually overt. The words themselves are original poems, stories, and critical writings on art and photography I have written. In the end, the text may challenge, distort, or complement the context the photograph creates, but whatever they do, the text adds an abstract quality both visually and conceptually.”
Exhibition will be on display from November 14, 2019 – January 4, 2020
“In response to questions concerning my training and schooling etc., I am, for lack of a better term, self-taught. It is my hope that the work in question speaks for itself, in its own voice, without being burdened with autobiographical and or didactic references. If the work in question has any meaning in the accepted sense it is in its ability to combine found objects and images – the discarded debris of the once-functional and the most humble of materials – in such a manner as to demonstrate their capacity for transformation into objects that by the response they generate engage the viewer in a creative dialogue of association, allusion, and reverie beyond the limitations of the utilitarian and preconceived notions of what is worthy of “notice” and what constitutes ‘value.'”
Exhibition will be on display from January 9 – February 15, 2020.
“In the pursuit of sturgeon, we found ourselves standing on the ice in a landscape devoid of any visible horizon. The snow blew past in ribbons, and the wind burned any exposed skin. We moved the shack over the hole cut in the ice, and now, sheltered from the wind, we took our first look into the abyss below my feet.
The exhibition 20 Below explores the tradition and dedication to sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago. How vital this mysterious and ancient fish is to the way of life, and how critical this community is to the lake sturgeons’ sustainability. There is still much work ahead for those involved with ensuring the future of the fish in Lake Winnebago. There is a collective will, to ensure that future generations can continue to participate in a tradition, securing the lake sturgeons’ population for future generations. Thanks to the community’s respect and understanding of its history and its passion for protecting and conserving the fish there is hope that we could be witnessing a renaissance, a return to the heyday of lake sturgeon.”