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Pioneer Photos at the Portrait Society

McCaw and Budsberg contemplate survival

Mar. 5, 2013
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The Portrait Society’s owner-curator Debra Brehmer describes her upcoming exhibition, “The Vanishing Point: Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg,” as “playful and inspiring because young artists are exploring these paths—journeys of who we are and where we come from.”

McCaw and Budsberg are 2008 Mary L. Nohl Fellows who have returned from recent artist residencies in Utah and Nevada. “The Vanishing Point” will include photographs, a video screening and sculptural objects.

When working at their residencies in America’s West, the husband-and-wife team dressed as 19th-century Midwestern farmers, pioneers trying to survive in the barren, desolate landscapes. They then shot a series of photographs, with the resulting images resembling film stills in narratives that merge a staged scene with an actual geographical setting. Thus, performance enters photography.

“The photographs blur what’s artificial and documentary, which provides a dramatic element,” Brehmer adds. With futurists predicting shortages of food, fuel and water (and even water out-pricing oil), we cannot help but question how scarce these necessities will become. Are McCaw and Budsberg subconsciously conjuring postmodern fears for survival? Indeed, the artists’ photographs speak to, as Brehmer puts it, “any obstacles we all encounter, must overcome and trudge through in life.”

The Portrait Society Gallery opens “The Vanishing Point: Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg” on Friday, March 15, with a reception from 6-9 p.m.

Art Happening

“Uncommon Ground”
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Ave., Sheboygan

Six national artists arrive at the Kohler Arts Center to construct site-specific installations inside and outside the galleries. Four of the contributors will be available to answer questions while at work on their art. The installation project will continue through April 11. Find the complete schedule at jmkac.org.

“Fourth Annual International PEEPS® Competition”
Racine Art Museum
441 Main St., Racine

At RAM’s annual competition, artwork is created using only the brightly colored candy confection known as PEEPS®. The museum begins taking entries on Monday, March 11. The exhibition opens with an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 28. For the entry form and requirements visit ramart.org.


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