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When the Quiet Man Speaks

Painter Mark Mulhern’s ‘Space Between’ at Tory Folliard

Sep. 20, 2016
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As this year’s presidential hopefuls rampage forth, creating chaos in a world already loaded with vulgar chatter, it’s nice to know the eye of the political storm is not at the gracious, spacious Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. 

Artist Mark Mulhern speaks softly. I’ve often called him the “quiet man.” He’s that and more. His current exhibition is aptly titled “The Space Between.” It’s a space occupied by this masterful artist whose work never shouts or proclaims. That said, it certainly does not lack energy. 

Mulhern’s world is populated by figures (and a few dogs) that seem to float through various doings. It’s everyday stuff for everyday folks who shop, gossip and gather in various places. His is the painted land with no visible anchors, and in this land there is an air of freedom and eternal calm devoid of terror. 

If the barely-there persons could turn and speak to those of us standing outside of the frames, would they rant and rave, or would they tell us about the charming fringed bag depicted in The Right Accessory, or ask us if we’ve ever been in a red telephone booth like the one depicted in Waiting to Resume the Walk? Standing patiently outside of the booth are two dogs, and we will never know what’s being said inside.

If you read between the lines, Mulhern may be lamenting the loss of what it once meant to communicate. No smartphones in sight.

Through Oct. 15 at Tory Folliard Gallery, 233 N. Milwaukee St.

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