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Navigating a Nexus of Art

Gallery Night and Day at the Marshall Building

Apr. 22, 2014
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Milwaukee’s quarterly Gallery Night and Day is an open invitation to experience the tremendous array of art and culture the Cream City has to offer. For the first time, the Shepherd Express offers a comprehensive walking tour of its own Third Ward home, the historic Marshall Building, a 108-year-old structure housing 40 galleries and studios, and a true nexus of Milwaukee art. Doors are open Friday night and all day Saturday, April 25-26.


Lower Level

Begin your tour at Milwaukee Potters Guild, home to seven talented ceramicists; especially striking are Mary Merrill’s pieces created with a proprietary glaze that causes breathtaking crystalline shapes to grow during the firing process.

SAFI Studios offers an immersive, experimental experience. Artworks include whimsical encaustics and large acrylics by Dianne Soffa, colorful paintings on plywood by Tom Kovacich and Scott Johnson’s video installation and photographs of Riverwest rooflines. A performance by experimental music collective Speakerdust takes place Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The ten-artist cooperative San Remy Gallery offers diverse contemporary and traditional art, currently spotlighting member Michelle Wildgruber, whose naturalistic ceramics include Raku glazes and hand carving.

Susan L. Kabins of lamp experts Luminosity, Inc. invites visitors to discuss “how to properly light the artwork purchased during this event.” Arte Piso covers other event and architectural necessities including polymeric flooring, ceiling and vertical surfaces by Duraguard Solutions; and event fixtures, fabrics and furniture by M.A. and Associates.

Picture Dis Photography and Publishing will sell its eponymous men’s magazine, along with calendars and other titillating merch. Parental guidance: explicit content.


First Floor

Visit Elaine Erickson Gallery to take in Karen Halt’s acrylic series “Birds and Beasts of Uncommon Beauty,” images featuring human-animal composites and animals in human situations.

Although it is closed for Gallery Night, peek through the window of Grotta & Co. to see hand-dyed and -screened textiles of rare elegance.

Katie Gingrass Gallery presents “From Heaven to Earth” ceramics show, featuring nine artists including the celebrated Bennet Bean, Curtis Benzle, Jef Raasch and Michael Ware.

Timo Gallery continues its exhibition of Arizona ceramicist Michael Prepsky, master of dense organic textures and “stolen faces.” Much of this work is on display for the first time ever.

Timothy Cobb Fine Arts spotlights a late master sculptor of local origin in “The Outsider Art of Bernard J. Roberts.” Working in media ranging from bronze to found objects, Roberts’ meditations on human and natural forms are engrossing, uplifting and sometimes humorous.  


Second Floor

Visit Art Upstairs Gallery and Studio to see works by Patricia Gilman Graham and Lois Buley-Wirth ranging in subject from abstract landscapes to sensitive nudes to realistic celebrations of the highway bridges we so often take for granted.

Ellen Reynolds Studio will be closed for Gallery Night, but the artist encourages parents to contact her at reynolds.eh@gmail.com regarding her upcoming children’s art classes.

Gallery 218 presents “An Abstract Nature,” a multimedia show exploring the natural world and featuring work by Judith Hooks, Bernie Newman, Jim Schaff and Rande Barke. As always, 218 also offers live jazz by Keith Watling.

Shannon Sullivan’s ceramics show “On Growth and Form” graces Greymatter Gallery. Since a serious car accident 15 years ago, the artist has been fascinated by the inner workings of the human body. The biophilic sculptures exhibited here reflect that interest and extend it to the structure of the world outside our bodies as well.

Sadler Gallery displays new work by nine artists, including Bridget Griffith Evans, whose figurative acrylics include depictions of fanciful props such as bunny ears; the artist hopes viewers will “create their own stories about what’s going on.”

Visit THE Fine Art Gallery and snap a photo with your face in a reproduction of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Also, enjoy performances by UW-Milwaukee dance students while perusing the paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, prints and mixed-media works of the six resident artists.

Christin Plamann Photography was unavailable for comment at press time.  


Third Floor

Red Narwhal presents mixed-media artist Kim Weiss’ “Ouroboros,” an exhibition of more than 70 relief print snakes, installed to interact with prints of hybrid forms by Kari Garon. Together the works explore connections between humans and animals.

A Gallery Night favorite for its “low-hanging fruit” beer offerings, Fred Gillich’s Too Much Metal Showroom features “Dream in Music,” a multimedia exploration of the phenomenon of waking up with a song stuck in your head. T-shirts, pillows and a Facebook fan-created playlist are in the works.

Visit Rita Maria Gallery & Studio to take in the artist’s striking photo-transfer- and collage-augmented paintings centered on crows and ravens. Also on display are abstract landscapes by her 10-year-old apprentice Jacob Constable.

The ACLU of Wisconsin presents “An Exploration of Privacy,” featuring drawings by Thomas Gaudynski and prints by Nicolas Lampert. Inspired by the Fourth Amendment’s safeguard against unreasonable search and seizure, the artists’ work examines topics ranging from personal privacy to political movements.

J. Nikolai Studio & Gallery presents “A Progression of Ideas.” Jeanne Nikolai Olivieri’s paintings realize this concept through a series of cut-away paintings of the Menomonee Valley marsh depicted in various weather conditions. Also on display are ceramics by Lauren Maybry, David Smith, Richard Burke and Bruce Howdle (the latter’s tribute to peregrine falcons is not to be missed).

Also on the third floor are Heather Cook Elliott Photography (closed for Gallery Night) and Ellen Cook Photography, which was unavailable for comment at press time.


Fourth Floor

Be sure to stop on this floor to visit three phenomenal new additions. Duback/Manger Studio Gallery features Sally Duback’s provocative monotype series on dead frogs, creatures that act as “canaries in the coalmine” when an ecosystem is compromised by humans. Barbara Manger’s work likewise caries an environmental message; her monotypes celebrate rivers through leaf and antique woodblock images layered to appear as if floating at varying depths.

Cricket Harbeck’s studio will be closed for Gallery Night.

Gallery MKE is home to Mary Culling, whose paintings call attention to the architectural details of Downtown’s soaring corporate offices, and Sally Lautmann, whose jewelry line Passaj features reworked antique pieces of exquisite color and texture.

The husband-and-wife team of Ken and Ruth Vonderberg is behind Studio Blip. The former’s pastel and acrylic works memorialize his travels in lighthearted spirit (don’t miss Deep Range, in which a herd of cattle grazes the seabed); and the latter’s abstract, texturized acrylic and mixed-media works likewise suggest the natural world and reflect her background in graphic design.


Fifth Floor

CR Davidson Art was unavailable for comment at press time.

The Portrait Society Gallery features Keith Nelson’s object-based collages collected in “Arrangements,” as well as “Guest Composers,” for which Nelson invited 11 associates to curate individual shelves. Finally, J. Shimon’s lauded watercolor series “Rural Utopia” celebrates art-making and gardening.

Helga Hilbert-Robinson Studio (open Friday night only) features the artist’s meditations on the theme of a square. Two series, Memory Cards and Homage to a Square, explore the concept through styles both realistic and abstract using oil and acrylic.

Gloss Photography Studio will be closed for Gallery Night.

Marshall Building newcomer Phil Saxon Gallery displays the artist’s vibrant figurative paintings and drawings informed by expressionism. David Joyce Studio & Gallery likewise marks its grand opening, displaying heavily impastoed oil paintings and inspirational artifacts from around the world. Of the philosophy behind his abstract land- and waterscapes, artist David Schaefer says, “If you watch nature, it can teach you so much.”


Sixth Floor

Enter the beehive-like space across from the elevators to explore four fantastic art spaces. Plaid Tuba is a 23-member artist collective whose members’ disciplines span painting, clothing design, sculpture, graphic design, animation, film, jewelry, web design, photography and collage.

Creative Alliance Milwaukee (located outside the hive) was unavailable for comment at press time.

Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, a nonprofit offering professional tools and resources to area artists of all disciplines, marks Gallery Night with a book sale sponsored by its MARNwriters subset. Hardcovers are $1, softcovers 50 cents and mystery bags $3.

ArtWorks, which offers paid internships to high school-age students, will be selling art and invites visitors to watch the interns at work on projects dealing with the spring theme, “What does peace look like?”

Finally, Reginald Baylor Studio, home to one of Milwaukee’s most acclaimed artists, will feature a large-scale work-in-progress titled “Oh Dear, Oh Deer.” The piece is a playful and provocative vision of what the Milwaukee Bucks’ new court floor might look like.

The Marshall Building is located at 207 E. Buffalo St. Admission to all galleries is free.


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