The historic Marshall Building (207 E. Buffalo St.) features more than 20 art galleries and studios specializing in everything from photography to pottery, acrylic paintings and sculptures. Stop by the Marshall Building to check out these current (and free) exhibitions and galleries this spring and summer.
Universal Fascination: A Modern Cabinet of Curiosity
Where: Frank Juarez Gallery, Suite 600
When: Now through July 6
Curated by illustrator James Demski, aka Jimbot, and showcasing nearly 50 works by six Milwaukee- and Pennsylvania-based artists — including husband and wife teams Brandon and Angela Minga, Brad and Stephanie Towell and Demski and Eric Hancock — “Universal Fascination” explores a number of themes, among them food, nature, industrialism, futurism and culture.
“It invites the viewer to investigate what is happening,” gallery owner Frank Juarez said of the exhibit.
Hancock’s brightly-colored paintings of “junk” food, such as doughnuts and hot dogs, and Wisconsin staples like coleslaw are complemented by Demski’s vivid paintings of birds, mice and foxes, often painted against a graffitied background.
Demski also incorporates game pieces, such as dice, in his works, including “My Game Room.”
Screenprinter Brad Towell uses glass as a medium to display images of figures in traditional ethnic costumes and modes of transportation in works like “Shanty Boat,” “Holding Hands” and “Pedal Car.” In “Portrait of a Girl,” “Pillar” and “The Deed,” Stephanie Towell incorporates cast-iron deer, small bird figurines, Victorian-era photographs and other found, eclectic objects in her works. Brandon Minga’s large mixed-media piece “Untitled #32 of the Lighter Than MKE” featured Miller High Life brewery imagery, old picture frames and various metals. Brandon and Angela Minga’s “Manicured Nature Collaboration Series 1-11” examines the relationship between nature and industry. Small natural landscapes are recreated on top of machine parts, perhaps to dramatize the relationship between man and nature.
On the Wing
Where: The Portrait Society Gallery, Suite 526
When: through June 8
This exhibition doubles as a fundraiser for non-profit organization On the Wing, which offers art classes and instruction to underserved adults in the Milwaukee area.
“I started this as a desire to expand the boundaries of the gallery, and to move into different neighborhoods,” said Portrait Society Gallery owner Debra Brehmer of the exhibition. “It was really exciting to work with different communities.”
The Portrait Society has held group sketchbook sessions each Tuesday since 2017 at the House of Peace (1702 W. Walnut St.). When sketchbooks are completed, On the Wing buys them from artists for $50.
The exhibition features 100 sketchbooks from drawing session participants, along with 50 created by Milwaukee artists, among them Della Wells, Fred Bell, Steve Burnham, and Santiago Cucullu. Many artists include different mediums in their sketchbooks, such as crayon, pen, ink, paint, glitter and magazine ads. Visitors are encouraged to look through each sketchbook, which can be purchased for $100 apiece. Prints of pages from sketchbooks can also be purchased for $30.
Brehmer feels that the sketchbooks provide a satisfying, enjoyable form of self-expression for On the Wing program participants. “Each page is another possibility to experiment and play.”
Gallery 218’s Collection
Where: Gallery 218, Suite 218
When: Gallery 218 will be open for Lakefront Festival of the Arts, June 21 and 22.
Several floors down, the elegant, inviting contemporary art space Gallery 218 displays work by eight artists including gallery director Judith Hooks, abstract watercolorist Carol Liesenfelder, photographers Bernie Newman, Lew Cadkin, Kim Lyon, Martha Coaty and JoAnne O’Hare, and sculptor Scott Onsager.
From Cadkin’s black and white industrial, geometric-inspired photography to Newman’s painterly, naturalistic photos, and Onsager’s singular sculptures, inspired by Greek and Roman pottery, Gallery 218 is an ideal blend of art mediums.
Newman said that Hooks carefully arranges the works so that the colors flow together, creating a harmonious effect in the gallery.
“Even though we all come from different backgrounds, we all hope to be consistent and compatible,” Newman said of the gallery.