Monday, December 29, 2008

Western States: Postcard Images

Western States: Press Release

Gallery Night: Friday, January 16th, 2009
Opening reception 5:00 – 10:00 pm
Show runs through February 14th

The Armoury Gallery is pleased to announce its 7th, and possibly most ambitious exhibition to date: Western States. Gathering up some of the most promising new artists the western half of the country has to offer, Western States gives Milwaukee a unique glimpse into art happening West of the Mississippi.

Aili Schmeltz, William Hundley, Gavin Brunner, Colleen Sanders, Adrianne Watson and Milwaukee’s own Colin Matthes will fill the gallery with a variety of 2-D, 3-D and installation work.

Living and working in Los Angeles, Aili Schmeltz earned her MFA in 2003 from the University of Arizona. She has since had 10 solo exhibitions to her credit, over 30 group shows and a host of publications including “Best of the West Coast” in New York Arts Magazine. Schmeltz has also had three separate prints appear in Jen Beckman’s 20x200 project based out of New York.

Hailing from Austin, Texas is photographer William Hundley. Earning his BFA in 1998, Hundley has since garnered international attention for his eerie-yet-playful images. With five solo exhibitions to date, and a bibliography that spans Poland, France, Germany, Chile, Spain, Italy, China and Argentina, we are pleased to be showing a series of his images this Gallery Night.

Also from Los Angeles, Gavin Bunner will be showing a selection of his 2-D works on paper. Appearing in New American Paintings in 2006, Artworld Digest and Studio Visit Magazine, along with three solo shows and a host of group exhibitions to his credit, Bunner is an artist to watch.

Both hailing from San Francisco, Colleen Sanders and Adrianne Watson round out the Western States line-up. Watson earned her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2008, and her work appears in the current issue of New American Paintings. Sanders earned her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2005 before continuing on to earn her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2008. Both artists currently have work showing at the Sam Lee Gallery in Los Angeles.

Last but not least, Milwaukee’s own Colin Matthes will take over the installation space. Matthes’s artwork has been exhibited in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Denmark, Spain, and Austria. In 2009, Matthes will have a solo-exhibition at the University of Texas-Pan American and create a wall drawing for a group exhibition at the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee. Matthes was also a 2008 Mary Nohl Fellowship recipient, and his work is currently on view in the Inova Gallery at UWM’s Kenilworth building.

(Links to all artists websites can be found on the right side toolbar)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Milwaukee's Own: Shepherd Review

Todays Shepherd Express includes a review of our current show by the talented Angelina Krahn. You can read the review HERE or below.

Local Cross-Section
Art Review
By Angelina Krahn

In "Milwaukee's Own," the Armoury Gallery's last show of 2008, Cassandra Smith and Jessica Steeber bring together four emerging local artists, three of whom created site-specific installations. "Milwaukee's Own" is an academic cross-section of sorts: All four artists are or will be MIAD alumni, trained in Milwaukee in the past decade. Aesthetically, the show is tied together by a minimal palette of paper, polystyrene, graphite, and black and gold paint, and, with the exception of some of Mary DiBiasio's works on paper, by coolly detached formalism.

Harvey Opgenorth's Space Debris: Objects of Desire (Hi-Vis Test #1) is the only piece in the show that rigorously incorporates the gallery's architecture. With a deceptively simple conceit, Opgenorth uses a corner of the gallery to paint a black square across walls and water pipes. The best seat in the house for viewing it is settled into the right corner of the gallery's settee, the vantage point at which the blocks of black paint converge to form the illusion of a two dimensional, flat black square festooned with amorphous globs of gold suspended in space.

In the gallery's small back room, kathryn e. martin's White Army is amassed, at ease, its tiny Styrofoam soldiers assembled from the bottoms of cups and plastic spears. Outside in the main gallery, her Untitled (Case Study) cascades down the wall in two clusters of ribbon-like Styrofoam, the tendrils extended and repeated by shadows cast from the overhead lights.

Colin Dickson's Reconnections takes advantage of the Armoury's high ceilings. Tightly-wound rolls of muslin printed with metallic gold are strung, clustered, and mounted to the ceiling. Similar in scale and shape, and placed sparsely throughout the gallery's aft, they hang like eight stalactites in a bright and commodious cave. Dickson's jointed strands, like the phalanges of plush fingers, rhyme visually with Mary DiBiasio's works on paper of traced and silhouetted hands.

Where Opgenorth engages the brain through the eyes and Dickson and martin hint at organic forms, in "Milwaukee's Own" the artist's hand, as it were, is nearly invisible. DiBiasio, however, repeats hers, infusing the show with literal representations of the body. Traced heads in profile, hands and fingerprints are used liberally throughout DiBiasio's work. In Great Expectations, a vertical diptych, graphite is gently dragged up from the bottom of the page, where fingers of cactus-like outgrowths jut from the mouths of limned heads in the desert landscape of empty space. There is a sense of longing in the gesture, as if grasping for the hands above beyond reach.

The artists of "Milwaukee's Own," are superficially linked by educational background and by geography, but each artist's voice is distinct. And while for now they belong to Milwaukee, their work is poised to alight and transcend it.

Milwaukee's Own: Decider article

The Onion has a new(ish) off-shoot website called The Decider. Each city has their own Decider website, and Mike Brenner is writing for the Decider Milwaukee. This month, in his column "Now Hanging", he mentioned our current show, as well as the shows at Dean Jensen and Paper Boat. You can read the article HERE or below.

Now Hanging
Decider visits local galleries looking for stimulation
by Mike Brenner

Mayuko Kono buys cheap plastic dog figurines from her local 100 yen shop, which is Tokyo’s equivalent of a dollar store. She then spends hours sanding them down until all the layers of fur (and sometimes the flesh and eyes) are removed to reveal exquisite little sculptures resembling chiseled marble, each with a distinct personality. Kono and the 40 other artists in Big, Big Bangs/Small, Small Bucks (Dean Jensen Gallery, through Jan. 24) comprise this who’s-who exhibition of artists with ties to Milwaukee. From silly, anti-art pieces like Scott Reeder’s Snake on Phone to more substantive works from Jensen’s stable of Milwaukee art professors—Sonja Thomsen, Lynn Tomaszewski, and Jason S. Yi—Big, Big Bangs/Small, Small Bucks showcases 100 works of art, all of which are priced at or under $750 and are well worth the investment.

A minuscule number (by comparison) of circular remnants from the 50,000 Styrofoam cups used to create Kathryn E. Martin’s largest-to-date solo exhibition, Flotant (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, through Jan. 11), were saved by the artist and stuck together with cocktail picks to create the 250 robot-like soldiers in Martin’s even more recent work, White Army, Version 6.

Milwaukee’s Own (The Armoury Gallery, through Jan. 2) features the work of three other Milwaukee Institute Of Art & Design grads: Mary DiBiasio, Colin Dickson, and Harvey Opgenorth. As the viewer moves about the gallery, Opgenorth’s Space Debris: Objects Of Desire (Hi-Vis Test #1) just doesn't seem right, almost incomplete or lacking, but when you’re on the very right side of the vintage yellow couch next to the gallery director’s desk, everything falls into place. What seemed like random geometric shapes becomes one solid, grounded square dotted with giant, golden meteors.

Self-taught San Francisco artist and gallery director Lisa Congdon created a completely new body of work for her Milwaukee debut, Life In WonderMountain (Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery, through Jan. 11). Congdon’s first-ever three-dimensional installation juxtaposes pieces of thrift store crochet with found sepia-toned portraits that the artist embellished with multi-colored neon swatches of paint. The old and new are blended into an eerily satisfying altar to WonderMountain’s fictional inbred populous.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Milwaukee's Own: Gallery Online

For each opening we create an interactive gallery online where you can view the entire show by clicking around on photographs of the gallery.  HERE is the link to our Gallery Online for our current show, Milwaukee's Own.  Below are some examples of the work from the show.  On view until January 3rd with gallery hours on Saturdays from 12:00 - 5:00 pm.

kathryn e martin

Harvey Opgenorth

Mary DiBiasio

Colin T Dickson

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Milwaukee's Own: Shepherd Preview

This week's Shepherd Express has a preview of our show opening this Friday. You can see the original article HERE, or read an excerpt from the article below.

Site-Specific Art
By Peggy Sue Dunigan

Also opening this week is the Armoury Gallery's new exhibit, "Milwaukee's Own." It features four recent Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design graduates, with work constructed specifically for the gallery.

Nationally recognized artist Harvey Opgenorth paints optical illusions directly onto the walls, provoking dual visions of reality, while Colin Dickson fashions a muslin cave. In Dickson's first professional show since graduating in June, screen prints are combined with clusters of cotton to construct a large piece of art. kathryn e. martin, whose work is also on display at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's "Flotant" exhibit, revisits her circles of Styrofoam cups to create spiral forms envisioning clouds. 2006 graduate Mary DiBiasio portrays hands and human figures through tracings and cutouts rendered in graphite wall hangings.

These eclectic installations "create final products having more potential to shift," says gallery owner Cassandra Smith. The opening reception takes place on Friday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m.

kathryn e martin

Harvey Opgenorth

Mary DiBiasio

Colin Dickson