Villa Terrace exposes the usable and beautiful past

Written by Kat Murrell,
Contributing writer
Friday, 24 April 2015 12:00

The present continually folds itself over, layer upon layer, as it forms a historical past. Art and artifacts are material traces with uncertain immortality. They can last far beyond the lifetime of their makers and the environment for which they were made. 

"Private Spaces Public Authority," on view at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, asks what should be done with this usable past. Ceramic tiles, stained glass, doors, fireplace decorations and more are displayed as orphaned beauties, gleaned from two Milwaukee mansions: the Henry Uihlein Mansion and the Elizabeth Plankinton Mansion. 

Robin Jebavy turns glassware into expansive still lifes

Written by Kat Murrell ,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 11 April 2015 05:57

Robin Jebavy’s monochromatic still lifes, including Green Still Life, are powerful points of entry to her work, with harmonious compositional elements.
— PHOTO: Kat Murrell

Imagine an antique shop in the afternoon. Sunlight diffuses through shelves of colorful glass vases and goblets, compotes and all sorts of glittering vessels arranged carefully by hue. Each piece is distinguished by its particularities, its sinuous contours and decorative flourishes, but when seen as a whole arrangement they join and multiply. They overlap and refract, not so much as a kaleidoscope but more like a dream recorded in echoing waves of paint and time. 

‘Justified Art!’ strikes an all-too-relevant chord

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 06:18

The "Justified Art!" exhibit now on display at Madison’s Overture Center is perhaps too timely. One of its most gripping works, Nafis White’s “Can I Get a Witness?,” consists of a bright neon sign with the same words, near a list of people killed by police: Trayvon Martin; Eric Garner; Michael Brown. 

At the top of the list is Tony Robinson, the biracial Madison teen shot and killed earlier this month by Madison police officer Matt Kenny.

Fifty years of fascination: JoAnna Poehlmann at RedLine

Written by Kat Murrell,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 13:29

JoAnna Poehlmann. — Photo: Courtesy Kat Murrell

How do you keep wonder alive over the course of decades? 

‘Shifting Gears’ exhibits Wisconsin’s love affair with biking

Written by Jay Rath,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 26 April 2015 04:34

Wisconsin’s love affair with biking is the subject of a new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison:"Shifting Gears."

Exhibit to focus on 'Van Gogh and Nature'

Written by WiG Monday, 30 March 2015 07:49

An exhibit featuring 50 paintings and drawings of nature by Vincent Van Gogh will open in western Massachusetts in June.

"Van Gogh and Nature" is the first exhibit devoted to the artist's exploration of nature.

Detroit exhibit explores art, interplay of Kahlo, Rivera

Written by JEFF KAROUB,
Associated Press writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 11:32

The work of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo often seems a study in contrasts — he opts for the big and global, she the smaller and personal.

Yet the two were sharing ideas and “responding to each other artistically,” said Mark Rosenthal, curator of “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit” at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

‘The Wet Archive,’ at Chazen, leaves viewers limp

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:40

Despite what Andy Warhol might have thought, not everything an artist does is brilliant or groundbreaking. In Warhol’s case, trivial and self-indulgent are also descriptors that come to mind.

For evidence, look no further than his Polaroid photo “studies” of male genitalia, an example of what’s in store in the largely disappointing exhibit The Wet Archive: History, Desire, and the Photographer’s Liquid Intelligence, now on display at the Chazen Museum of Art on the UW-Madison campus. 

Art Gaze Milwaukee, April 9, 2015

Written by Kat Murrell ,
Contributing writer
Friday, 10 April 2015 09:28

Gallery Night and Day is coming up on April 17 and April 18. Here are a few shows not to miss: 

‘Home in the Heart of the City’

‘Crossroads of Civilization’: Ancient artifacts get a modern presentation at Milwaukee Public Museum

Written by Kat Murrell,
Contributing writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 06:36

There is no doubt that the Middle East is a pivotal, mutable place. We hear about current events in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and other countries in the region daily. 

MOWA captures a state’s love for the polka

Written by Barry Adams,
Wisconsin State Journal
Thursday, 12 March 2015 16:33

Dick Blau’s photographs capture modern polka lovers across Wisconsin.
— Photo: Dick Blau

Photographs of accordions, tubas and Pabst Blue Ribbon signs may not be the norm for an $11.2 million art museum that features nationally recognized sculptors, painters and other media artists.

Understanding the ‘Realm of Innocents’ at WPCA

Written by Kat Murrell,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:29

Gina Litherland’s “The Good Luck Painting.”
— PHOTO: Courtesy Kat Murrell

There are the fairy tales and fantasies we read in storybooks, and there are the narratives we craft in our lives. As different as they may seem, our personal follies and fables may have kindred spirits in larger sweeps of cultural narrative and archetype. In the Realm of Innocents, on view at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, brings together six painters whose art explores those potential intersections of fantasy and reality.