Rosemary Ollison is a self-taught artist who lives in Milwaukee, WI. She was 16 years old when she moved to the midwest from a plantation in Arkansas. She began making art in 1984 while healing from an abusive marriage and for the next 25 years explored numerous media. Most of her work deals thematically with her identity as a black women and celebrates the power, individuality and mystique of other women. Besides drawing, Rosemary collects glass, leather, bracelets, beads, bones and jewelry and repurposes these materials into sculptural works. She has redesigned her small apartment with layers of pattern, duct tape sculptures, curtains of woven leather, crazy quilts and inventive drawings. She also designs clothing and writes poetry. Ollison says she creates in dialog with God: “When I am creating I am satisfied, I am free! I no longer just exist, I am alive!”
Portrait Society presented her work in a major exhibition in 2016, which included a room-sized installation that was a recreation of her living room, with a four channel video.
She has exhibited work at the 2017 and 2018 Outsider Art Fair, New York; UWM Union Gallery, Milwaukee; Indianapolis Public Library; Walker’s Point Center for the Arts; Uihlein Peters Gallery; Cissy Peltz Gallery, Milwaukee; and Alphons Gallery. Her work is included in the collections of the Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum. She is represented by Portrait Society Gallery.
SELECT EXHIBITIONS (GROUP & SOLO)
2019 Lynden Sculpture Garden, "Prosperity in a Million Scraps, through December 9, 2019. Solo exhibition.
2019 Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Nohl Fellowship exhibition.
2019 Saint Kate Arts Hotel. Commissioned room design.
2018 Outsider Art Fair, New York, NY
2018 Waste Not II: Wisconsin Self Taught, Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
2017 Contemporary Art Society Art Auction, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
2017 Learning to Live with Abundance, Portrait Society Gallery (solo)
2017 Now Figuration, Portrait Society Gallery
2017 Outsider Art Fair, New York, NY
2016 Agency, Industry, Infinity, Portrait Society Gallery
Milwaukee Art Museum
Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee, WI
2019 Mary L Nohl Fellowship award
2019 Milwaukee Artist of the Year