Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gallery FIGHT

Maybe it's all the kickboxing I've been doing, but I really wanted to punch someone at Gallery Night on Friday.

Despite the fact that this action could have potentially landed me in jail, I still kind of wish I would have done it. Why? BECAUSE THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

I want to explain myself, but before I do I should say that this was my first Gallery Night in Milwaukee, and I can easily admit that I didn't exactly get the full experience. I stayed only at the Marshall Building, and didn't even attempt the Gallery Night Bus that took people to different locations throughout the night on Friday and the next day. Also, I went by myself, and to be perfectly honest, an event like that is just not as fun when attended solo. It would have been nice to have someone to drink wine with. And also to have someone to help fight off the mobs and mobs of people that were packed into the building. I'm not making this up, look:

Every time I tried to move up or down a level, this is what I encountered. I felt incredibly claustrophobic at most points during the night, and physically ran into at least ten people while trying to maneuver my way through the galleries. Not to mention I could not find an open bathroom for the life of me. Always a problem.

At one point I even considered jumping out this window because I literally couldn't push my way out of a room.

But luckily there was food pretty much everywhere, so I was able to munch while I was waiting to be freed from the throng.

(These were good)

There was also a book sale in case I needed to do some light reading while waiting.

It's hard for me to say if I saw any art that really resonated with me. Not that I don't think there was good stuff there. That's not what I'm saying. It's just that there were so many people that it was really hard to stand and look at anything for very long, and any kind of "resonating" that could have happened was dampened by the mass of bodies. I can surmise that these were the things that I thought were good:

Shannon Sullivan, from "On Growth and Form"- Grey Matter Gallery

Sullivan's "On Growth and Form" was a part of the NCECA conference in March. Above is an example of one of her "Faceted Composites," a series of ceramic pieces that are reminiscent of natural rock formations. 

Karen Halt, from "Birds and Beasts of Uncommon Beauty"- Elaine Erickson Gallery

Halt, who currently resides in Chicago, may be my new favorite semi-local artist. From between the cracks and crevices of the densely packed crowd her paintings emitted a serene and soothing glow. Looking at her work was sort of like eating ice cream on a hot day. Refreshing. Emphasis on the fresh. Halt is doing an incredible job of keeping the medium as alive and active as her still-breathing subject matter.

Eristole Siewert, from "Stupid Vessels"- Gallery? (I forgot, it was busy in there, okay?! Also, sorry for the blurry photo.)

Maybe it's just where I'm at right now, but I really liked Siewert's approach of not taking herself or her vessels too seriously. Let's face it, life is kind of a stupid vessel.

Amy Cropper, Maize- The Fine Art Gallery 

I'm from Wisconsin, but corn imagery never gets old to me. I enjoyed the use of watercolor in this series of paintings to create a delicate, infantile rendering of a Midwestern staple. 

Darlene Wesenberg Rzezotarski, The Frog PrinceThe Fine Art Gallery

This whimsical ceramic frog takes me back to my frog lovin' days. Which were actually not all that long ago, come to think of it. Rzeztoraski's family of fairy tale creatures presented a curious mix of literature, folklore, and of course fine art, as the name of the gallery suggests.

Selected Arrangement from "Arrangements: Keith Nelson"- Portrait Society Gallery

Heck yeah. I think it's safe to say that I think Debra Brehmer is a pretty cool lady. I've liked everything I've seen in her gallery, but I thought "Arrangements" in particular was a really solid show. Because of the intricacies and connotations of the pieces I would recommend visiting this gallery when there are a lot less people in the room. Also, be sure to check out John Shimon's "Rural Utopia," a selection of works from his Blotchy Blobs Blog.

Before I start bashing individual people for lingering stubbornly in front of pieces while I was trying to look at them, I'll conclude my recap of Gallery Night, or, what I could glean from Gallery Night by peeking around people's shoulders and over their heads and under their legs and through their arms.

And that is why I should have punched someone. I don't even think it would have been a bad thing. I would have gotten to see more art, and people would have realized they were standing around like dummies. A few weeks ago I wrote this post, which was sort of comparing the way people act at art events as opposed to sporting events. Friday's Gallery Night was reminiscent of a sporting event because of the mass, energy, and excitement of the crowd, and that's awesome. It's exactly what I think an art event should be like, and I'm really impressed that Gallery Night drew out such a large number of people. Any complaining I'm doing right now is just because I wish I would have been more prepared. Seriously. I should have brought a boxing glove.

PS- Just in case anyone thinks I need anger management or something, I will say that I felt totally fine once I walked out the door and back out to the parking garage and had this really awesome view as I walked up to my car: 

Ahhh. Peace and quiet. 


  1. That Shannon Sullivan piece is awesome.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Agreed! Check out here website: http://www.shannonmsullivan.com/page/page/6902807.htm