THELMA SADOFF CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Calendar

Nov
18
Thu
Denise Presnell: The Sweet Spot Between Chaos and Control
Nov 18 2021 – Jan 22 2022 all-day

Exhibition will be on display from November 18, 2021 –  January 22, 2022

I am a painter/mixed media/pastel artist living and working in western Wisconsin. My work is driven by an intuitive desire to explore a personal archeology. Shapes and marks unite to display a map of my creative process. The tools and mediums I use to explore this imagery are also intuitively chosen for their unique effect on the composition. The range of mediums I use is vast and includes oil, pastel, acrylic, cold wax, charcoal, graphite, oil pigment sticks, color pencil and iridescent powders on paper, canvas and panel. My artist tools include traditional brushes, shape makers, palette knives, squeegees and odds and ends of packing materials, cups – you name it. If an object looks like it will create a unique effect or texture while transferring paint onto a surface – I’ll try it.

I speculate that my current work is a form of visual game playing. There is a juxtaposition of random and decisive choices throughout my painting process so that both the conscious and subconscious have an opportunity to interact on the surface of the picture plane. My work involves as much tearing down as it does the building up of visual elements. I won’t allow any section of the surface to be so precious that I wouldn’t risk removing it or covering it over with paint in order to unify the whole. And as in any good game, risk is necessary for the reward. My process involves working on 2 – 3 pieces at a time.

Currently, I shift between working with acrylic on canvas and oil, cold wax and mixed media on paper or panel. With each medium, I concentrate on one piece and begin the additional work or two with the extra paint left on my palette. This results in a miniseries based on the palette, but not necessarily on the composition. Composition is unique to each piece as it is developed intuitively during the process of each piece. I find that shifting from acrylic to the cold wax medium informs the textures and tool methods used between the two mediums. I’ve discovered ways to make the acrylic work like cold wax and vice versa. The layering process is very similar between the two mediums as well. I try to leave at least some areas of all my works with a glimpse of each step of the work process – a sort of visual mapping of my decision making.

For more information about the artist click HERE!

Emily Mcilroy: The Lilies How They Grow
Nov 18 2021 – Jan 22 2022 all-day

Exhibition will be on display from November 18, 2021 –  January 22, 2022

I use the practice of drawing and painting as a means of connecting the grace, power, violence, and complexity found in nature, with internal landscapes of thoughts, memories, and emotions. My large-scale works on paper explore forces and elements of the natural world as metaphors for human experiences of love, loss, grief, and transformation. Densely layered and detailed, the nine panels that make up the series “The Lilies How They Grow,” are composed of organic shapes, colors, and textures reminiscent of underwater caverns, glaciers, or the delicate features of animals and plants.

Since the sudden deaths of my twin brother and mother, I have come to see our own inner worlds as “wildernesses” -spaces that harbor great dangers, as well as potential for incredible wonder and discovery. “The Lilies How They Grow” is an attempt to navigate the forces and features of this territory. It is an attempt to understand and accept an existence that is at once breathtakingly beautiful, unendurably painful, infinitely fragile, and prodigiously resilient. Created as prayers for a passageway out of all the has held me back, these pieces look towards hope and faith in the capacity to love, and for the possibility of a life aligned with presence, openness, and joy.!

The title of the series comes from a dream I had a month after the death of my twin. As I was walking along the edge of a cliff at night I slipped, and while falling, saw two small lilies that I grabbed and used to pull myself back up and out of the blackness. Now, whenever traction becomes weak, when I don’t remember who I am, I consider the lilies. I search for the handholds in the dark. I take the seeds of those life-sustaining flowers and try to grow them, not in little pairs, but in full, feracious fields.

For more information about the artist click HERE!

Jan
27
Thu
Breehan James
Jan 27 – Mar 12 all-day

Exhibition will be on display from January 27, 2022 –  March 12, 2022

Breehan James was born and raised in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin. She received her MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. James has participated in many residencies and fellowship programs, most notably at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Norway, and the National Gallery of Canada. She was awarded fellowships to participate as an Artist-in-Residence for Arts in the Park at Quetico Provincial Park, The Stowe School in England and at the Vermont Studio Center. James exhibits her paintings internationally and is the recipient of the prestigious Marie Sharpe Walsh Foundation studio award “The Space Program” in New York City.

A Wisconsin native, Breehan James’ rarified work is centered on connecting to nature and experiencing wildness. James paints specific locations she has explored at her family’s northern Wisconsin cabin and in the wild Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Documenting flora and fauna in all its complexity through countless brushstrokes, her work has a beauty that transcends actuality and provokes contemplation. Rugged boreal forests, beautiful night skies reflected in lakes, deer hunters, and cottages in the woods populate her paintings and evoke a psychological state of being both lost and found in nature.

For more information about the artist click HERE!

Mar
17
Thu
Craig Clifford:
Mar 17 – Apr 30 all-day

Exhibition will be on display from March 17, 2022 –  April 30, 2022.

As an artist I am interested in where high and low culture intersects and how images carry meaning within a society that consumes a huge amount of visual information. My creative practice is an exercise in the transformation of common objects and an investigation into how context, expectation and gaze affect our experience with the things we live with. I use the technique of casting to transform found objects and forms into rich tableaus that use color and texture to alter the perception of space and draw the viewer into a complex experience.

My pieces are made by the assemblage of hundreds of press molded, kitsch forms to create texture that at first glance seems to be a mere surface but then draws the viewer in with slices of recognizable imagery. I could use anything to create texture, but choose to use the trite, sentimentalized images that come from commercial plaster molds. In fine art, ceramics is often considered low art and within ceramics commercial molds are the lowest form of clay as they require no skill or creativity and represent images and clichés as crass novelty items. I transform these hollow, commercial reproductions of ‘art’ to create my work. The forms themselves are cast from found objects like refined teacups and serving pieces from cast off china sets. For myself, these objects are images of refinement and wealth and act as a contrast to the surface imagery.

The pieces show themselves in layers of information that take time to reveal themselves to the viewer. I utilize color as another layer for the work, both hiding and accenting the texture and form. I work in assemblage and use material culture to create works that recontextualize the familiar until it is transformed and unrecognizable.

For more information about the artist click HERE!

Mark Mcleod:
Mar 17 – Apr 30 all-day

Exhibition will be on display from March 17, 2022 –  April 30, 2022.

My primary focus for the past 10 years has been the ever-changing and erroneous nature of memory.

“Memory is a fallible, persistently shifting, exploitable thing. My interest in memory stems from our inability to store and retrieve some long- and short-term events. I remember few events from my childhood and very little from my recent past. This deficiency has forced me to rely on secondary storage and retrieval methods. Video has become a backup for incomplete memories, and photography has become my proof of moments. My life has been subsequently organized into little blue digital folders by year, month, and event. This shortcoming makes me question my limited recollection of the past and what I have come to understand as reality.” – Mark Mcleod

For more information about the artist click HERE!