Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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.

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