Interior, Exterior: Home as Portrait

June 26 - August 14, 2009

Opening reception: Friday, June 26, 6-9pm.

Gallery Night: July 24

What is a home but a metaphor of the self and the body. We dress and style it. We create intimate private spaces within. We build and tear down and build again. The home offers a lifetime of aesthetic choices and pleasures: Does the chair look better here or there? Look at how the morning light caresses the piano. This vase would look very nice near this plant. These domestic artistic decisions appeal to the part of our soul that craves beauty and visual rhythm.

Kay Knight is a professor of painting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work employs vintage wallpaper patterns which she uses as a base to construct shelters and dwellings. Nostalgic and post-modern at the same time, Kay Knight’s work seems to try to pry apart the nails and glue and decorative surfaces that we use to contain and sometimes to conceal the truth of our lives.

Ariana Huggett is a Milwaukee artist who earned her MFA from UWM in 1994 and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. For this exhibition, she has created a series of small scale watercolor and oil paintings of home interiors. All of the paintings are done on-site and involve repeated visits.  Intimate, lush, and personal in that each painting captures a certain mood and time of day, Huggett’s paintings speak directly about how the things we live with represent who we are as individuals. She says: “The paintings become portraits of how humans accumulate and live, and they become a snapshot of the times by showing what people have and use in this moment.”

Chicago artist Keiler Sensenbrenner’s animal paintings were featured in a show last year at Portrait Society. This time, she is back with delicately realist still life paintings and room interiors. Sensenbrenner earned her undergraduate degree at UW-Madison in 2000 and her MFA at Northwestern University in 2002. She currently teaches at De Paul University. Sensenbrenner is the consummate painter, offering lushly rendered objects and animals. Her work is clearly about the pleasure of seeing and translating the material world into painterly approximations.

Gallery B will be fully reconfigured for this exhibition. The seating area will be styled with 1950s furnishings, from the collection of Skip Forrest. The art installation will feature about 600 plastic plate collages by Carolyn Gaska, of Madison, who died in 2005. Mrs. Gaska spent the last 20 years of her life engaged in various craft activities, including the production of  collaged plates and metal juice cap refrigerator magnets.