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‘John Wilde: The Early Works' Examines a Wisconsin Great

Tory Folliard presents unseen work by major Wisconsin artist

Nov. 15, 2016
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John Wilde (1919-2006; pronounced “WILL-dee”) is regarded as one of the major figures of Wisconsin art. Wilde’s works are found in prestigious institutions across the nation and his surreal influence lives on in the work of contemporary heavies such as Fred Stonehouse.

“John Wilde: The Early Works,” Nov. 19 through Dec. 31 at the Tory Folliard Gallery, presents a cache of recently discovered works from the 1940s and 1950s. The artist’s niece discovered the paintings and drawings after the death of Wilde’s widow in 2015. The exhibition reunites preparatory drawings with the hitherto unseen finished canvasses. While the fumbling fingers of adolescence often lead artists to commit their juvenilia to the flames, Wilde’s early efforts reveal an artist assured in style and technique from a young age. “This wasn’t just talent and training,” recalled artist Sylvia Fein, who met Wilde when both were undergraduates at UW-Madison, “There was a supernatural happening…constantly generating and cranking out [work] with no apparent struggle or missteps.”

Robert Cozzolino, the leading Wilde scholar and author of the exhibition catalogue, will give a talk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 during the opening reception.


“Microcosms: The Imagined Realities of Art”
Union Art Gallery
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd., Room W199

“Art does not reproduce the visible,” asserted Swiss-German artist Paul Klee, “rather, it makes visible.” The world-making power of art is the theme of “Microcosms: The Imagined Realities of Art,” at UW-Milwaukee’s Union Art Gallery from Nov. 18 through Dec. 9. Works by local and national artists include a stunningly detailed map of a non-existent landmass comprised of more than 3,200 8-by-10-inch panels created over a 20-year period by artist Jerry Gretzinger. Beauvais Lyons of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will present selections from his series of “creative zoological” lithographs “Envisioned Worlds: Lithographs from the Hokes Archives.”


“Della Wells: Alice’s Tea Party and Other Musings of a Little Colored Girl” and “Heads or Tails: Ceramics”
Portrait Society Gallery
207 E. Buffalo Street, Suite 526


Two shows open at Portrait Society Gallery on Nov. 18 and will be displayed through Dec. 23. “Alice’s Tea Party and Other Musings of a Little Colored Girl” is a room-sized installation by Della Wells, who was named 2016 Artist of the Year by the City of Milwaukee. The installation is a tea party attended by 150 hand-painted fabric dolls that range from six inches to five feet tall. The eponymous Alice refers to Wells’ mother, whose undiagnosed schizophrenia introduced a difficult, yet artistically formative, degree of fiction into Wells’ childhood. “Heads or Tails: Ceramics” is the gallery’s second annual ceramics show. The participating artists—who, interestingly, are not all ceramicists—were asked to work with the theme human busts and animals.

Attention artists, both aspiring and established: The Pfister Hotel is seeking applicants for their 2017-18 Artist in Residence. The position includes studio and display space in the historic hotel’s first floor gallery as well as the opportunity to engage with guests at art receptions, gallery nights, classes and events hosted by the resident artist. The deadline to submit applications is Dec. 5. The application can be found online at thepfisterhotel.com/artist-in-residence.


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