top of page

Boris Ostrerov and Winter Chapel

January 21 - March 11, 2011

Portrait Society is excited to offer the second annual Winter Chapel installation. Each year an artist or architect is invited to transform Gallery B into a self-styled chapel. To help ease us into the darkest, coldest months of winter, the Chapel seeks to offer a place of inventive quietude and solace, but it also aims to expand our ideas about how one ‘constructs,’ through material means, the idea of beauty.

Linda Wervey Vitamvas, this year’s chapel designer,  is a sculptor who works with minimal porcelain forms. She was featured in this year’s Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and is currently an artist in residence at the Kohler’s Art and Industry program.

A former obstetrical nurse, Ms. Vitamvas returned to school several years ago to complete an MFA at UWM. Her lengthy career in nursing still informs her work as she creates minimal, white porcelain forms that suggest the intersection of the body and the world of medicine.


Ms. Vitamvas’ chapel was inspired by a recent trip to Rome and the Capuchin Crypt, which is an underground burial chamber containing the bones and bodies of 4,000 Capuchin friars. At Portrait Society, her chapel is white and minimal, with a curtain of bone icicles in front of an altar where 40 candle-holders in the shapes of pelvic bones will light the room.  Glass shelves line the walls and hold hand-made bones that cast shadows to the floor.  A clock, also constructed of various bone shapes, keeps immortal time on another wall.

The public has been invited to participate in this project by purchasing a bone that can be inscribed with a message of their choice and included in the chapel. The seven-word-maximum inscriptions range from an artist’s list of all the colors in spectrum to the lyrics of a recently deceased relative’s favorite German folk song.

Gallery A features new paintings by Boris Ostrerov. The exhibition can be viewed here: Boris Ostrerov: New Paintings. This is Boris Ostrerov’s second solo show at PSG. He has since moved to NYC where he is in graduate school at Hunter College.  In this new body of work, Ostrerov explores smaller scale color compositions that take the forms of mounds or piles of lines. They are lyrical and abstract, yet each one, depending on the shape, arrangement, color or density of the thick lines, suggests a totally different set of conditions and mood. His artist statement addresses how these seemingly abstract compositions also embed much larger principles – of both science and life as well as the act of painting itself:

“I often find a seemingly dumb misunderstanding is more intriguing than an understanding and may reveal a surprising truth. With this idea in mind, I create stacks of brush-marks that exist in their own world, the space of which is confined to the dimensions of the substrate I work on. I think about: A pile that grows up not knowing where it came from or how it got there. A pile that grows up with the possibility of collapse. A pile that keeps growing with the knowledge that any subsequent growth can add instability.”


Review, Urban Milwaukee, Judith Ann Moriarty

bottom of page