THELMA SADOFF CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Calendar

Jun
13
Thu
Liz Miller: Seismic Shifts, Structural Anomalies, and Impossible Dreams
Jun 13 @ 10:00 am – Jul 27 @ 5:00 pm

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.

 

 

Aug
1
Thu
Lester O. Schwartz: A Retrospective
Aug 1 @ 10:00 am – Sep 21 @ 5:00 pm

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.

Artist Bio
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.

 

 

Sep
26
Thu
Vitus Shell: Now We Here: The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – Nov 9 @ 5:00 pm

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.

 

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Nov
9
Sat
Artist’s Exchange: David Criner: “Living Proof”
Nov 9 @ 3:00 pm – Dec 23 @ 5:00 pm

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.

Nov
14
Thu
Derrick Burbul: Diary of a Mad World
Nov 14 2019 @ 10:00 am – Jan 4 2020 @ 5:00 pm

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.”

Wayne Bertola: Vernacular Relics
Nov 14 2019 @ 10:00 am – Jan 4 2020 @ 5:00 pm

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.'”

Jan
9
Thu
Christopher Dowell: 20 Below
Jan 9 @ 10:00 am – Feb 15 @ 5:00 pm

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.”

Fish of Legends
Jan 9 @ 10:00 am – Feb 15 @ 5:00 pm

Exhibition will be on display from January 9 – February 15, 2020.

Stories have existed long before recorded history, and the telling of stories has changed forms drastically throughout the ages. Although the methods have changed, the desire to tell and hear stories has remained unchanged, and still greatly impacts the way we look at life. From generation to generation, fishing stories have served as a source of fascination, humor and pride. Many of these stories have been retold and embellished upon to the point they become legendary. The work in this exhibition focuses on such legendary stories of the sturgeon. The stories on display have been gathered and reinterpreted by local artists through painting, drawing, printmaking, graphic media and sculpture. Each of these artists uses the power of the visual image to ignite imaginations, evoke emotions and capture universal cultural truths to form a connection with this celebrated ancient fish.

Feb
20
Thu
Laura Schneider and Juliane Troicki: Illuminating Women
Feb 20 @ 10:00 am – Mar 28 @ 5:00 pm

Exhibition will be on display from February 20, 2020 – March 28, 2020

Illuminating Women: An art collaboration by Laura Schneider and Juliane Troicki

Illuminating Women is a collaboration of journalism and documentary photography. The project combines portraits of 30 inspiring women from the Fond du Lac community represented through black and white photography and biographical narratives. Laura and Juliane created this project to shine a light on exceptional women and their gifts to the community. Laura and Juliane hope that the Illuminating Women Project will move the Fond du Lac community to be inspired by their stories.

Juliane and Laura are very grateful to Agnesian Healthcare, a member of SSM Health for their generous sponsorship and for making this project possible.

 

Laura Schneider was born in Wisconsin.. At an early age, Laura recognized she had something different to offer the world. But, it wasn’t until recently that she realized what’s possible.

Laura is a Midwest-based artist who colors outside the lines of life. While earning her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, her passion for photography was ignited in the darkroom.

For nearly two decades, Laura has been capturing subtleties that go overlooked by the casual observer. Her perceptive nature gives her work character and revealing depth. She leverages her senses and the natural qualities of her environment to leave inspired, relatable creations in her wake.

 

Juliane Troicki is a native of Berlin, Germany.

She has made Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, her home for the last six years. Juliane is a mother of four children. She cares deeply about her environment and has been a long-term community advocate and volunteer. Juliane holds a Ph.D. in political science and teaches classes at local colleges, currently at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. As an educator, she is passionate about teaching and learning, especially about women’s experiences and their role in the world. Juliane is excited to share what she has learned about the inspiring women in her community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul
16
Thu
Adriane Little: Mapping Mrs. Dalloway
Jul 16 – Aug 29 all-day

Mapping Mrs. Dalloway by Adriane Little

Exhibition will be on display from July 16 – August 29, 2020

Literature is riddled with dead or otherwise missing mothers. Virginia Woolf’s life and writing were partly, yet significantly guided by the death of her mother when Woolf was just 13-years-old. This loss reappears across her novels. As an artist, I am interested in studying both her writing and her as a woman who experienced this early and profound loss. Conceptually, this work is supported by continued research to advance the trope of the missing mother. Mapping Mrs. Dalloway represents a new way of visualizing text and image within my practice by incorporating data mapping in this new work.

For Mapping Mrs. Dalloway, I walked the streets of London and photographed along the path that Mrs. Dalloway walks in the novel. In doing so, I brought the walking path and Mrs. Dalloway forward 90 years into the present. These are the same streets that Woolf herself walked countless times. My intention was not to illustrate the novel, but instead to use stream of consciousness in capturing the images. This mirrors the literary strategy of the novel. This project challenged me to photograph in a new way. I was limited to a specific amount of time while in England. I knew where I would walk but I was not certain what I would actually find. As each day past, I became more familiar with the sense of place created by the movement of people in the city and the project evolved.

After returning from England, I divided the text of the novel into 20 sections. Each section is then visualized as a word count of the novel and layered over an image in the series. The circles grow larger the more often a particular word was repeated. The green that is used for the data mapping was color matched from photographs I took of the wall paint while inside of Monk’s House. The data visualization both obscures and reveals information within each image. I perceive the interaction of the mapping within each image as moments of loss.

Adriane Little is a conceptual artist and educator living in Kalamazoo Michigan. Her studio practice originates from the perspective of photographic processes, but also crosses media and theoretical positions. The underpinnings of her visual work and research are at an intersection of trauma and ritual through an interrogation of a presence and absence of the maternal body. The translation of this space is both literal and metaphor or the architecture of an ephemeral maternal space that is embedded within what she calls the matrilineal ghost. As a continuation of these ideas, recent work turns to literature as a source of visualization. Literature is riddled with dead or otherwise missing mothers.

By both committee and invitation, her artwork has received national and international recognition in numerous exhibitions and video screenings. Since arriving to Western Michigan University in fall 2006, her artwork has exhibited in 57 different venues in 52 international cities and in 87 different venues in 69 U.S. cities. Most notable and recent venues include; Gallery 1401 (Philadelphia PA), CEPA Gallery (Buffalo NY), the Institute of Culture (Trbovlje Slovenia), The Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock NY), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo NY), Chelsea Art Museum (NYC), Syracuse International Film Festival, Siouxland Film Festival, Milwaukee Short Film Festival, Dawson City International Film Festival in the Yukon, Macon Film and Video Festival, Three Rivers Film Festival and the Leeds International Film Festival in the UK, among others. She has curated several exhibitions including Plus 3 Ferris Wheels, 17 Days and several solo exhibitions in galleries and online.