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An on-line drawing exhibition

April through June

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Portrait Society Gallery is pleased to present PSG on PAPER, an exhibition about drawing. Each week, the gallery presents the work of one artist. 

All of the work can be purchased on the website's Store (above in menu). We will porch deliver anywhere in the MIlwaukee area free of charge. 

Artists include: Emily Belknap, Melissa Cooke, Steve Burnham, Skully Gustafson (Week One), Pat Hidson (Week Three), Nykoli Koslow (Week Two), Ashley Lusietto, David Niec, Rosemary Ollison, Amy O'Neill, Mark Ottens, Nirmal Raja, Rafael Francisco Salas, Della Wells, M Winston (Week Four), Christopher T. Wood. 

A recent letter from M. Winston

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Ashley Lusietto in her studio.

Ashley Lusietto makes autobiographical works that confront ingrained feminine self-consciousness and alter-egos through painting, sculpture, and performance. Her recent body of work on paper is a twisted reimagining of teenage fantasies where mythical feminine characters interact with feelings of isolation and desire. 

Ashley lives and works in Madison, WI where she recently earned her MFA. She has done several public art projects including big-head puppet performances. She is fanatical about tango dancing and did a tango-inspired mural at the Madison Public Library Central Branch. 

About her work:

Working from autobiographical content, I exchange factual representations of people and events for my own fantastical reinterpretations. Mythologizing my personal history fulfills a desire to reclaim the past with a sense of authority and commitment to the truth of my emotions. Through processes in painting, drawing, and sculpture I use color and material to embed tones of joy and anxiety—the mixed feelings of remembering. The figuration of my work—divine, maternal, animalistic, childlike, etc.—emerges from a practice of making self-portraits and alter egos. My characters with their exaggerated bodily features, garishly made-up faces, and exposed meaty flesh, are vulnerable, emotional, and direct. 

In my recent MFA exhibition "Fell Into the Honey," I found inspiration in ancient funerary processes, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and the memory of receiving a box of brand new dolls in the mail as a child. This body of work made a twisted fairytale of my slow-burning nostalgias, set in a fantasy where the characters playfully blur the lines of alter-ego, inner child, feminine divine, and self portrait. In my cathartic reimagining of a lingering childhood, death becomes a catalyst for healing and preservation. To “fall into the honey” is euphemistic for dying. That sickly sweet liquid amber with its eternal shelf-life has been used for thousands of years in burial practices. Ancient honey-embalmed corpses laid to rest in tombs remain well preserved today. In my work I use honey metaphorically—to sweeten the taste of bitter remembering and to embalm the selves of the past.



Image 8 You'll Get Over It.jpeg
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Troubled about ghosts, 2020. Mixed media on paper,  10 x 7 inches. $350 (sold)

You’ll Get Over It, 2020. Mixed media on paper,

10 x 7 inches, $350 (sold)

Each week we ask other artists in the show to comment about the featured artist's work.


Amy O'Neill
These drawings feel like many things at once. Layers of dreams drawn from observation. Loose and stream of conscious, but still highly specific. I love the way the page is barely containing things because the images are stronger than the surface, as if the subjects who occupy this space know exactly what they're about.  

Skully Gustafson
There is an absurd and slightly abject mix of humor and fantasy in this work and maybe some melancholy. Memories pop up through a present expression. Even though the drawings are personal, they let the viewer engage and find one's own narrative interpretation. I love the play between flat figures and warping floors and space. The variety of greens in "You'll Get Over It"  is really nice, in contrast to the soft red stripes. I feel like I'm hanging out in the room with some weirdos dancing and stretching.

Pat Hidson
This work speaks to the value in being brave. It takes courage to face the anxiety engendered in confronting experience through memory. The artistry and looseness are testimony to an artist devoted to pushing the materials without lapses into doubt. I love the use of color and texture, but it is the emotion and honesty I feel connected to even more. When artists study history and reference ritual in their inner process, a richness results where the art reads as an invocation to our inner selves.

Debra Brehmer (PSG Gallery Director)
I am going to make one suggestion here: Listen to tango music while looking at Ashley Lusietto's  drawings. Here is a link for your viewing soundtrack. Please, click on the link before you scroll down to the images! I promise you will be pleasantly rewarded. 

Now that we have the proper ambience, it is easy to see how Ashley's obsession with the tango filters into every mark she makes. There are dips, slides, swoons, colgada, and spins. Her drawings have that feeling of vertigo when the music suddenly lifts you off your feet.  Thank you Ashley for altering my coronavirus world. With these drawings, I enter a mindset of romantic, delicate drama where humans overcome their weighty flesh vessels to defy all that keeps them earthbound. And when they fall to the ground (which they do), and land with a thud, you know they'll get back up again.  

David Niec
Characters wear costumes and masks and exist on a stage. Paint is a surface that reveals a kind of theater. Color has the capacity to reveal that which we might not ordinarily see, and quite possibly that which is more essential.

Rafael Francisco Salas
The drawings of Ashley Lusietto evoke the woman’s body, imagined from an interior unconscious. Lusietto acknowledges that they are autobiographical, and in her artwork we see bodies seen through the gaze of the self as well as the other. In this way, the drawings are powerful observations on identity politics and how one woman might view the world, or imagine the world sees her. 

Loopy, faux-naive figures gesture, bend and blend together into lyrical passages. I find the drawings humorous, but they also remark on the history of how bodies are portrayed and comment on that legacy. In the end, Lusietto’s artwork combines archetype, myth and irreverence with a gutsy, confident hand.

Paul Salsieder (PSG Gallery Assistant)
Ashley Lusietto’s work has a primal sort of energy. In her wall drawings at the Madison Public Library, her autobiographical female figures are made all the more powerful by their simplicity as they stride over spaces without regard for framing devices, as unapologetic as the bulls of Lascaux. These engrossing wall-drawings stand in contrast to the smaller works she produces that are far more intimate. They have the charming quality of reminding me of quirky relatives and old friends that I haven’t caught up with in some time. The drawings exaggerate these half-remembered figures into people who are defined by hyperbole. I find myself wondering if this is what memory looks like within the human psyche
















Nykoli Koslow

"You'll Get Over It"

These are delicious days full of waft nostalgia, the kind that's never quite remembered right. This time it's painted in genteel cocktail colors and long lost baby fat. This time she catches me and says, "my eyes are down here". This time I know there are things one will never get over.  

"A Drink in the Magic Mead"

In her back bend

she's all


but void of bones,

'could you

deflower me?

but sideways and

get drenched?

or at least swim?

Image 8 You'll Get Over It.jpeg
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