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September 25 through November 28, 2020






Special COVID note: As of November 10, with all time high COVID rates in Wisconsin, Portrait Society will be closed to the pubic. Anyone who would like to visit the show should e-mail and make an appointment.

Portrait Society Gallery is pleased to present its fall exhibition, SEAMS: Contemporary Textile Artists, opening September 25 and running through November 28, 2020, curated by gallery director Debra Brehmer and fiber artist Heidi Parkes, with assistance from Paul Salsieder. 


The gallery is located at 207 E. Buffalo Street, Fifth Floor, in the Third Ward, Milwaukee, WI. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. 


SEAMS features 17 regional and national artists working with fabric. The exhibition also inaugurates a newly constructed additional space for PSG, expanding the gallery’s square footage to 1600 feet. 


From the historically traditional patchwork quilts of 75 year old Milwaukee artist Ella Mae Brooks, to New York-based artist Mary Tooley Parker’s hooked rug tributes to the quilters of Gee’s Bend, to sculptural contemporary work by Judith Mullen, Jacqueline Surdell and Nirmal Raja, SEAMS traces an evolution of fiber work. The thread and yarn used to stitch, patch, enumerate, contain, define, elaborate, and connect, wanders between genres with a material freedom that holds an echo of ‘women’s work’  while defying domestic or art world categorical limitations.


The exhibition features new work by Milwaukee and Florida-based artist Sharon Kerry-Harlan who devoted the past winter to black and white compositions. Milwaukee artist-of-the-year in 2019, Rosemary Ollison, is represented with a new series of dyed, stitched and constructed denim jackets as well as wall textiles. Local legendary seamstress Madam Chino presents a three-story tall strip of 28 stitched together dress shirts, installed as a cascading ribbon. Cincinnati MFA student Josie Love Roebuck applies stitching to her painted canvases and Chicago based artist Judith Mullen finds nature-based textures in combinations of wire, plastic, fabric and glue. Co-curator Heidi Parkes presents new work using a variety of quilting techniques, with one work a diaristic account of COVID months. 


Artists include: Vanessa Devaki Andrew (Madam Chino), Ella Mae Brooks, Molly Hassler, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Linda Marcus, Kirsten Meier, Shannon Molter, Judith Mullen, Amanda Nadig, Rosemary Ollison, Mary Tooley Parker, Heidi Parkes, Rosy Petri, Nirmal Raja, Josie Love Roebuck, Jacqueline Surdell, Charles Queen.  

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