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Week Eight


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 (Week Five), David Niec, Rosemary Ollison, Amy O'Neill, Mark Ottens, Nirmal Raja, Rafael Francisco Salas, Della Wells, M Winston (Week Four), Christopher T. Wood. 

Rosemary Ollison, Untitled (Wrapped Up) 2017. Ink on paper, 12 x 9 inches. 

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Amy O'Neill, Self-Portrait May 13, 2020. Pencil on paper. 17 x 13 inches. $300.

Welcome to Week Eight of PSG on PAPER, Portrait Society's on-line drawing exhibition. 

It is not easy to account for a month. If I had to recall what constituted my 30 spent days of April, I would have to think hard. Lots of quiet time at home, long daily walks, ambitious cooking, 30 glasses of red wine. But these are generalities. What about the specifics? How do we hold on to the splinters of infinite observation: 30 days times thousands of appreciative glances at a flower, an expression on your child's face, your cat's sleeping posture, the hamburger you are about to eat: All of these glances bound to earth by fields of thought and association, but fleeting. 

If COVID-19 has given us anything, it has given us time to settle. Drawing is a form of settling, of concentrated looking and appreciation. A drawing is a stain made by prolonged observation. And a drawing is an official document on paper representing your existence that day, that moment. 

Amy O'Neill's challenge to herself to make a daily drawing began in January before the virus set in. As conditions changed, the drawings began to document her immediate surroundings. They become more particular. O'Neill said she would spend longer amounts of time on the drawings-- moments stretched into minutes, into hours. The drawings are now a calendar of this strange time when we have burrowed into our caves and yet have also united in a huge global unifying embrace. Notions of 'private' and 'public,'  and even the meaning of objects, have shifted. Before the virus, perhaps O'Neill's pencil drawing of her stack of cooking pots might have seemed quotidian. Within the Convid context it takes on monumentality. We are all cooking more. Those pots and pans provide the music of each day's late afternoon denouement. They are holy. 


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Amy O'Neill, March 2020. Pencil on paper, 31 drawings. Six by seven feet. 

Amy O'Neill, May 13, 2020. Pencil on paper. 8 x 10 inches. $150.

In this spirit of making contact, Amy has put forth the invitation to draw your portrait. She invites you to come to her porch or she will come to yours. These are graphite drawings on paper. The sitter can determine the size. Prices begin (10 x 8 inches) at $100. Simply write to to schedule or directly purchase the $100 portrait on the PSG store. 

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Amy O'Neill, April 2020. Pencil on paper, 30 drawings. Six by seven feet. 

  AMY O'NEILL                                      

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Amy O'Neill in her studio.

Amy O’Neill received her BFA and MFA from UW-Milwaukee. For ten years, she taught drawing and painting at UWM, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and Fisher College in Boston. Since 2013, she has been the Artist in Residence at Highland Community School, a K3-8 Montessori school in Milwaukee. She maintains a relentlessly rigid studio practice.

Amy O'Neill: "I gave myself an assignment to do a drawing a day for all of 2020. Drawing is my first love. But for the last several years, the ways I would make drawings were in the service of other things: as preparatory sketches for future paintings. As examples of a drawing technique for my students. Doodles in the margins during faculty meetings. My idea for this project is that it would sharpen my hand, my eye, my studio discipline. Proof that I did something.

What began on January 1 as a rather perfunctory exercise to re-engage with the practice of drawing has evolved into a more active cataloging of this strange space we are all inhabiting. The act of drawing is a radical thing. It is as close to a meditative act in which I participate, and I feel fortunate to have drawing as a means to process everything that is going on. My mind clears, my breathing changes. I am looking at a thing and through a thing simultaneously. My interior language shifts from words to unspoken raw elements. I am all at once an interpreter and a medium, a code writer and code breaker, protagonist and onlooker."

Amy O'Neill, "My Wife, Nicole Kruegar," sample of a porch portrait. May 13, 2020. Pencil on paper. 11 x 14 inches

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