Call it Art Nouveau for the high-tech age: landscape, light and sculpture merge in a cutting-edge exhibit at Madison’s Olbrich Botanical Gardens this fall.
“The projects are diverse and very exciting,” says David Wells, artistic director of GLEAM: Art in a New Light, which opens Sept. 2. “They’ll invigorate viewing. They will provide counterpoints to nature yet be engaged with the nature of the gardens themselves.”
The night is coming on in “Eventide at the Duchess’s.” The sky glows orange with an apocalyptic burn, familiar in the paintings of artist John Wilde (1919–2006). The sunset bathes a wild bunch of cavorting bodies. Some couples embrace and others face off, while in other vignettes single figures dot the improbable landscape. A woman lounges on a gigantic leaf as another balances on a beach ball floating in water, or on a head sticking up from the ground. In the distance, with striking nonchalance, is the painter who busies himself working at his easel.
In her description of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum’s latest show, curator Annemarie Sawkins invokes the highly influential English artist William Morris: “true art (is) the expression of man’s pleasure in his work and therefore the arts, when honest, (can be) simultaneously beautiful and useful.”
Along with the simultaneous opening of these exhibitions at the Haggerty Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Lakefront Festival of Art is taking place June 19-21 on the MAM grounds. This annual event was established in 1963 and this year’s roster of 170 artists promises for a rich array of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, wearable art and much more.
Natasha Nicholson stands in the middle of “Studiolo,” an immense room filled with hundreds of arranged artifacts and found objects that replicates part of the Madison artist’s home studio. She looks around to make sure every piece of her collection is where it needs to be — to foster the artistic environment she considers critical to her work.
Art often reflects the most deeply held feelings and beliefs in the minds and hearts of artists — and, by extension, the audiences who view the work. Several new exhibits at Madison-area galleries speak to a variety of emotions, with many works even cathartic for their creators.
Life imitates art, as Oscar Wilde so famously said.
From across the room, Jody Emery’s “Universe” catches light like a cosmos of stars twinkling in the night. Enamel paint glistens in a cloudy crush of three-dimensional texture that builds from the artwork’s surface. Approach more closely and see that this murky constellation is built from metal detritus of various chains, tool bits and other tough implements.
To be completely enveloped in art, simply visit the Tory Folliard Gallery. The Salon Show is a powerful presentation of the gallery’s roster, presenting 40 artists and more than 100 pieces. More importantly, it’s a perfect opportunity to appraise some of the Milwaukee and regional scene’s more prolific artists.
There’s a museum inside UW-Milwaukee’s Inova museum, temporarily. The “Milwaukee, Milwaukie Museum” celebrates both the largest city in Wisconsin and a suburb of Portland, Oregon, which share similar names. The space, organized by the photographic collective Milwaukee Comma, achieved mini-fame even before the main exhibition opened, with Mayor Tom Barrett issuing a proclamation marking June 26 as “Milwaukee, Milwaukie Museum Day.”