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Painting on canvas by Shane Walsh

August 31st -October 14th 

“A painting is not a picture of an experience, it is an experience.”~ Mark Rothko

Surfaces is an exhibit devoted to large-scale contemporary abstract painting. Abstract painting is a broad category for non-figurative artworks that focus on line, form, and color, elements that can be considered the principal building blocks of abstract art since the beginning of the 20th century. This exhibit features five Midwest artists who approach abstract painting through a variety of different methods. From strong gestural brushstrokes to hard-edged abstraction, minimalism and open compositions with broad washes of color, the exhibit aims to survey how abstract painting evolved from the post WWII era, when Abstract Expressionism was considered the most dominant artistic movement of its time.

Abstract Expressionism signaled a new age of American artistic expression in the immediate postwar period (the late 1940s and 1950s), placing New York City at the forefront of international modern art. Derived from such European movements as Surrealism, Cubism and Fauvism, abstract art depicted reality in a completely expressive way through saturated colors, dynamic space, broad brushwork and attention to surfaces. Jackson PollockWillem de Kooning and Mark Rothko amongst several others were influential in stressing on the medium itself to engage the spectator and even provoke a challenging gut reaction. Continuing in much the same way as it did a century ago we are seeing a resurfacing to abstract painting in contemporary art.

As abstract painting continues to make a comeback, artists remain greatly influenced by their own shifting environment and daily rituals that often reflect advancements made in society. This exhibit features a selection of cross-generational artists who reference present-day materials sampled from the Internet, popular culture, nature, and technology to make their large-scale works.

Exhibiting artists include: Tom Berenz (Milwaukee), Shar Coulson (Chicago), Emmett Johns (Door County), Margaret Lockwood (Door County), and Shane Walsh (Milwaukee).