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Yes, Yeh, Uh, Oh, Oy, AI

November 17 - January 6, 2024

Portrait Society Gallery is excited to announce a new group exhibition, “Yes, Yeh, Uh, Oh, Oy, AI,” opening  November 17 and running through January 6, 2024.


Group shows are curious things. The need to create a rationale for an often random assortment of work is most often met under the banner of a theme. This group show has no theme.  Like its title (from a painting by Steve Burnham),  the show jostles from yes, to yeh, to oh, and oy, pooling in the abyss of AI. The exhibition evolved via the pleasurable goal of visiting studios and meeting new artists. As the new artists aligned with some of PSG’s represented artists, areas of interest and commonalities emerged. Much of the work seemed to be absorbing the discomforts of our contemporary world while remaining remarkably buoyant.


One group of work centers on housing and landscape as sites of instability or tenuousness. Contemporary artist Sara Willadsen’s collaged and fragmented structures, and incarcerated artist M. Winston’s small homes built from found materials speak of yearning for and envisioning an ideal that lingers in the distance. The construction of a home mirrors the construction of a thought or work of art — plank by plank, a conjuring of design, desire, and self-image. Madison based artist Rebecca Kautz’s paintings of homes and interiors describe domesticity as both a place of comfort and a zone of hidden threats. The charcoal sketchbook pages by Patricia Bertha Mattingly belie their small scale with compacted, lyrical mark making that gives form to the ephemeral. The sketches become places to store elusive conditions of light, sensation, and time.


A second theme emerges as an abstract mood of fracturing and drift. Here explorations of media open paths to discovery.  Materials lead the way, from Michael Davidson’s porous water color compositions, to Steve Burnham’s on-going series of acrylic paintings that absorb what falls into the artist’s daily path, be it literary or art historical sources, current events, or musings on the environment. Tanner MacArthur makes assemblages that wrestle found materials into fresh relationships. Kaden Van De Loo’s recent abstract paintings fuse a conscious sensation of music to the formal process of making a painting.


A related show in the project space features the beach collages of Mike Ringo White who was recently featured on WUWM Public Radio’s Bubbler Talk.


Artists included in Yes, Yeh, Uh, Oh, Oy, Ai include: Steve Burnham, Michael Davidson, Rebecca Kautz, Bruce Knackert, Richard Knight, Leif Larson, Kaden Van De Loo, Patricia Bertha Mattingly, Tanner MacArthur, Mark Ottens, Ari St. Germaine, Rafael Francisco Salas, Nicole Shaver, Trina May Smith, Shari Urquhart, Sara Willadsen, M. Winston.

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