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Mark Mulhern’s New Works at Tory Folliard Gallery

Sep. 13, 2016
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Pliny the Elder recounts the story of a painting competition between two of ancient Greece’s most skillful painters, Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Zeuxis presented his painting first—a depiction of grapes so realistic that birds alighted and tried to eat the fruit. Eager to cement his victory, Zeuxis urged Parrhasius to remove the sheet covering his painting, only to discover that Parrhasius had in fact painted the sheet itself. It is to Zeuxis’ credit that he conceded defeat, acknowledging that while he had fooled the birds, Parrhasius had fooled Zeuxis.

This art-as-imitation paradigm largely dominated aesthetics until photography obviated the endeavor to recreate reality. Liberated from the expectation of imitation, painters were free to embrace abstraction and all its expressive potential. “Mark Mulhern: The Space Between,” Sept. 16-Oct. 15 at Tory Folliard Gallery (233 N. Milwaukee St.) presents the latest batch of the artist’s whimsical paintings, which infuse their representation with abstract flair. The deceptive simplicity of Mulhern’s work derives from his preference for scenes drawn from everyday life as well as his childlike (but not childish) technique. The charming impression of the canvasses gives way to an appreciation of Mulhern’s rich layering of detail and the expert evocation of atmosphere. 

Plein Air Shorewood 2016

Atwater Park

4000 N. Lake Drive

The popularity of plein air events is easily explained. They invite artists from the community to make art inspired by the community to be enjoyed by and sold to members of the community. They also allow local proprietors to hawk their wares and increase their visibility. And in Wisconsin, a state driven indoors for many months, plein air events draw us outdoors to enjoy Mother Nature’s gentler side. On Saturday, Sept. 17, Plein Air Shorewood 2016 features these conventional trappings as well as some novel additions. From 8-10 a.m., a community breakfast (including free coffee) will be offered before a rededication ceremony for Atwater Park’s signature Jaume Plensa sculpture, Spillover II. Visit the event’s website for a comprehensive listing of the day’s goings-on.

“Broken Dreams/Sueños Rotos”

Latino Arts Inc.

1028 S. Ninth St.

“Broken Dreams/Sueños Rotos” is a study in fragility by Chilean-born artist, poet and educator Ximena Soza. Utilizing found objects such as tree branches, Soza transforms these unassuming articles into works of art with the skillful addition of yarn and the delicate suspension of the branches so as to cast shadows on the wall behind. The use of frangible, even broken, objects represents for Soza dreams unrealized, but with the affirmative message that moving past the past grants us the freedom of the future. “Broken Dreams/Sueños Rotos” is on display from Sept. 16 through Oct. 14 at the Latino Arts Gallery.


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