Ted Brusubardis (video)
Thomas Haneman (painting)
M. Winston (miniature abstract paintings)
Saturday, September 14
3 p.m. Artist Talks
Friday, August 16th, 6-8 p.m.
Exhibition runs through September 14, 2019
Interview, WUWM radio: Tonen O'Connor discusses the work of M. Winston
Review: Urbank Milwaukee
The notion of Inside Out has different connotations for the three artists in Portrait Society’s summer exhibition.
In the largest gallery, Ted Brusubardis presents a four channel video that addresses a profound generational connection between a musician grandfather and grandson. This connection weaves back to Nazi Germany and the Soviet occupation of Latvia where forced war-time migration from Latvia landed the family in German relocation camps for five years. Access to a piano solidified the Brusubardis’ faith in music as the medium that transcends hardship. This family of musicians continues to prosper generationally knowing that the ethereal strains of sound may be the most lasting strands that weave a familial history together. The notion of inside/out within this video project called “Lietus in 3 Movements” suggests the dissolution of borders and divisions.
Thomas Haneman who lives in Sheboygan, WI. has suffered from debilitating depression. This did not stop him from completing his art degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at age 50. After graduation, he faced a severe decline that abated three years ago when the right mix of medication gave him relief. At that time he began painting imaginary plants and flowers. These lyrical compositions embrace the remarkable forms, colors and nearly science-fiction-like phenomenon of nature. Haneman’s paintings blossom in joyous, surreal bouquets suggestive of another Wisconsin based artist from a previous generation — Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. It is not surprising that Haneman’s mother is a dedicated gardener with swelling beds of perennials on all sides of her home and that Haneman helps care for them.
M. Winston is an incarcerated inmate within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections system with six years remaining on his sentence. Winston, 55, has made drawings and paintings since he was a child in Mississippi. His mother used to trade them for food and encouraged his talents. In grade school, he was asked to paint portraits of the presidents in the hallways.
The notion of “inside” for him is a cell measuring six by nine feet, in facilities secured by a double 12-foot high fence and seven armed towers. Over 1000 inmates are housed here. As a form of meditation, Winston makes tiny paintings, most no larger than 2 by 2.5 inches. He has completed nearly 700 of them during his various times inside and outside of prison. Part of the reason for the small scale is that if an inmate makes anything larger than 8 x 10 inches, they cannot keep it in their cell. Winston likes to keep the work with him. The paintings are abstract but allude to places all over the world. For him they provide a way to translate what he is thinking and imagining, and expand his prison life exponentially.
Winston’s work was discovered less than a year ago when he had a few small paintings posted on the prison’s job fair bulletin board. As he tells the story, “This white shirt (corrections officer) came over to the unit to thank me.” That officer could not believe the volume and quality of Winston’s work. Days later, someone at the prison library told him about a book of work by artist Pat Passlof (MIlton Resnick’s wife), who was an abstract painter in the 1950s and mentioned that she liked his work better. He was already drawn to Renoir and Hokusai. “I store five to seven paintings in my head every day,” he said, “My way of painting small helps me make room for what’s to come.”
M. Winston has for a number of years participated in Buddhist study groups that are offered at prisons around the state by Buddhist teachers in a program coordinated by Tonen O’Connor of the Milwaukee Zen Center. His current teacher is Meru Doug Szper of Still Point Zen Center. As Winston says, “Art is what I feel. It is deep in my soul: It’s my Enlightenment and part of my Nirvana.” His work previously was shown at the Jazz Gallery in Milwaukee. This is his first commercial gallery exhibition.
Proceeds from the sale of his work will go into a savings account that he can access upon his release.