Take a Drive to Art Outdoors – August 2, 2015

August 1, 2015

The first of five Wandering Wisconsin 2015 arts events will feature the Painted Forest in tiny Valton, Wisconsin.  The Painted Forest is a very unique environment created in an old Modern Woodmen of America meeting hall.  Itinerant artist Ernest Hupeden painted almost the entire interior of the hall in the 1890s.  The site has been restored, a learning center constructed nearby, and is now owned by Edgewood College in Madison.  It’s truly a remarkable, hidden Wisconsin treasure.

paintedforest1

Part of Ernest Hupeden’s amazing mural work

Art Outdoors will provide a number of great activities including an opportunity to learn to paint outdoors, with instruction provided by Edgewood College professor Robert Tarrell.

Guided tours of the Painted Forest will be given every 30 minutes starting at 11 am.  You can snack on some yummy wood fired stove-made pizza from noon until 3, and be entertained by Jake O starting at 1:30.

Check your roadmap or GPS to find Valton.  It is in the far

The Modern Woodmen Hall - it's astounding inside!

The Modern Woodmen Hall – it’s astounding inside!

northwest corner of Sauk County, near Cazenovia and about 18 miles west of Reedsburg.  The drive will be beautiful and there will be a lot of interesting things to do once you get there.  Art Outdoors will run from 9 am until 4 pm – drop in any time.

The event in Valton is the first of a series of five Wandering Wisconsin Roadside Art Experiences around the state to be held in August and September.  We’ll keep you updated via the Portal Wisconsin blog.

Rick Rolfsmeyer


Leslie Smith III: I want People to Just Get It

May 25, 2014

I missed the introduction to the “rapid fire” lecture of UW-Madison professor and painter Leslie Smith III. Smith, in full force, as I entered the dark auditorium, showed little inclination to slow down. Immediately captivated, my senses prompted me to pay very close attention and strive to comprehend every word. I searched for a pen and paper to assist in increasing my chances of taking it all in and to also ” get it.” His choice of words fell on my ears as magic even as I missed chunks of phrases and bits and pieces here and there.

I instantly traveled back in time to my days as a UW-Milwaukee art aesthetics and philosophy student in the classes of Professor Haig Khatchadourian and much later as a student in the classes of Judith Russi Kirshner, then my professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a contributor to Art Forum. Khatchadourian’s and Kirshner’s command of aesthetics and delivery excited and gained my rapt attention. Smith’s command of aesthetics and delivery intertwined with his artmaking, inspired that same awe.

Smith provided glimpses into his educational background, museum exhibitions and assorted processes influencing the thought-provoking abstractions. He shared narrative observations and interpretations of sometimes quirky private dramas and interpersonal relationships. His real life references definitely distinguished themselves in the abstract paintings. Without these associations, the actual connections to pieces like “Piss Chair,” “Hungry Boy” and “You First”  remain with Smith. The uniquely personal references provide insights when the viewer needs them and when the artist desires, in some way, to provide them. Smith’s increasingly asymmetrically shaped canvas paintings, gestural brushstrokes and bold colors stand solidly alone as strong aesthetic images. My notes, following the artwork titles, reveal what I heard as Smith’s aesthetic concepts and welcomed as his references.

"Piss Chair" 96 x 108 inches, Oil on Canvas 2008

“Piss Chair” 96 x 108 inches, Oil on Canvas 2008

“Piss Chair”
In the white lawn chair we ate watermelon and barbeque/Legs and high heel shoes/Psychological aspects/Objects that function with little reference
Emotional Gravitas borrows language/language/isolates it from the language of object/You have to work with what you know. Work has to be more about me/How you tell the truth.

"Hungry Boy" 40 x 40 inches, Oil on Canvas 2011

“Hungry Boy” 40 x 40 inches, Oil on Canvas 2011

“Hungry Boy”

Hungry for work, Hungry for time, Hungry for a studio Infatuated with the romance/synthetic life of NY/Find objects that I can re-contextualize -find what I wanted/ I was asked, “Have you thought about Philip Guston?” It helps to organize the canvas/I thought about separating the making of a character from the act of creating the painting/I start out not knowing what they are all about/I’m interested in investigation/all the conditions of a painting/Dealing with the role of color, dealing with narrative/I thought about separating the making of a character/from the act of creating the painting/I start out not knowing what they are all about/I’m interested in investigation all the conditions of a painting/Dealing with the role of color/Dealing with narrative.

"Window" 24 x 24 inches, Oil and spray paint on Canvas 2010

“Window” 24 x 24 inches, Oil and spray paint on Canvas 2010

“Window”

What came out of it is collapsing the space/Factor into a larger context/27” x 27” paintings/Infatuated with inanimate objects about the physicality of painting/How to not make it figurative/Make it volumetric/I realize that I just made a window/It reflects light with its metallic under-painting/I enter into an architectural space/Artist – Fra Angelico/He could negotiate space/Investigating Fra Angelico led to windows/Changing ways of studying subtle narratives and suggestion/“How Long has this been going on?/The Morning After”/Red hue is necessary for trying to solve the problem/Hard to quantify the saturation of color/Set within dream space/elements may float or exist in a semi-real space/I am interested in specificity and a certain reality/I want to create a sense of familiarity/I dream too much.

"You First" 26 x 26 Oil on Linen 2012

“You First” 26 x 26 inches, Oil on Linen 2012

“You First”

Do you know “Coming to America?”/Jerry Curls, Jheri Curls, Uncle’s/You first integrate multiple characters/Jerry curl juice/sweat.

"Self" 26 x 26 Oil on Linen 2011

“Self” 26 x 26 inches, Oil on Linen 2011

“Self”

Annual self-portrait/Gestural characters clouds or a mop/Working around the peripheral/Strike a theme until I exhaust it/“Viennese Waltz”/Relationships with closest friends are closer or more like family than your real family/Dancing with the stars.

"Sticks Stone or Drones" 72 x 96inches Oil on Canvas 2012

“Sticks Stone or Drones” 72 x 96 inches, Oil on Canvas 2012

 “Stick, Stones, and Drones”

It was great, I liked it/But it did not satisfy what else I’m missing/A post-modernist painter/Everything is apologetic/Everything is working together/I wanted to give my painting the same kind of complexity/“Philip Guston at work in his studio”/he did not want to understand what he was painting/I think about the contextualizing/I do want to understand it and demystify things/Canvas/frame/Potent reason to allow the painting shape/once a square/Then disfigure/dis-invigorate it to a hump form/What the contradiction was/Contradicting realities.

"Night Baptism" 42 x 42 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Night Baptism” 42 x 42 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Night Baptism”

I flew to … the east coast to be re-baptized, it happened at night with about/6-7 little bitty people, then I flew back/“Drift Studio” carpentry/ Were all forces and working mechanisms/Equal and opposing-canceling each other out/Cyclical unsolvable realities/ Societal and cultural/Drawings are subsidiaries to the/Building off the idea of/Locked on and found if you lose it.

 

"Best Kept Secret" 48 x 48 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

“Best Kept Secret,” 48 x 48 inches Oil on Shaped Canvas 2013

 “Best Kept Secret”

 Under a vail/Broken fractured/Night                 twitch shows up/Things that show up/The  politics of dealing with human  dispositions/All the others become more  complicated/I deal more or less/These  objects/I want to take a more direct  approach/Moved back into just letting things  go. I order two or three shapes at a time because I don’t know what to do with them/A juxtaposing element of form not fitting that way/I just fuss with them until they kind of meld together/Post-minimalism neo-geo/My personal experience, an absence of self/The work becomes lost in the conversation/Big elephant in the room/packed with a certain amount of familiarity.

Untitled work on paper, 26 x 40 inches Oil on Chromcoat paper, 2014

Untitled work on paper, 26 x 40 inches, Oil on Chromcoat paper, 2014

“Untitled”

Oil on Chromcoat paper/I can’t contextualize it/Something about these gestural painting/ Night Orchestra/Not figured out what that means/I just think it’s cool/Just needed something black to offset the newness/Want to make a painting that lifted those shapes up/The African American Abstract exhibition in Texas/The curator did such a good job of making me see the relationship my paintings had to abstraction in a multi generational context/I don’t believe mine are truly real abstractions/They are personified gestural subtle narrations of painting speaking to one another/I am working on more Chromecoat paper/their likeness helps fortify the shapes/I want people to just get it/A bad idea/My wife has told me no one can read my mind/unrealistic/my titles connect.

by Evelyn Patricia Terry

Terry received one of the Milwaukee Arts Board’s 2014 Artists of the Year Awards (along with Barbara Leigh), please contact Terry for juror, lecture, curator, commission, or workshop requests at terryevelyn@hotmail.com or visit the web page evelynpatriciaterry.com/news for more information.


 

 

 


Artists invade environments

August 4, 2013

Four of Wisconsin’s fascinating art environments have got a great event for artists coming soon.  Actually the Wandering Wisconsin Plein Air Competition has something for everyone, regardless of whether you are an artist, would like to learn or just enjoy the outdoors and unique hidden places.  Spend an August weekend. 

The painting competition is for artists of all ages.  Two sites will host the event on August 10 and 11 and the other two on August 17/18.  For those who’d like to learn or hone their skills, there will be work

Art by Robert Tarrell

Art by Robert Tarrell

shops on painting in the Plein-Air style on the same-size canvas.  For experienced painters, there’s a competition with cash prizes; no entrance fee.  Work must be on postcard-sized canvases/boards (4” X 6”) and feature facets of the host environment.  Artists can bring their own materials and materials will be provided if you need them.

On August 10th and 11th you can visit Nick Engelbert’s Grandview near Hollandale in Iowa County or James Tellen’s Woodland Garden near Sheboygan.  Grandview is a beautiful rural site, almost equidistant between New Glarus and Mineral Point on Highway 39 in southern Wisconsin.  The Tellen site is nestled in the woods in the town of Wilson just south of Sheboygan. 

The next weekend’s events will be at the Painted Forest in tiny Valton in Sauk County and Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips.  Just the drive to Valton is worth the time – it is a secluded, gorgeous place well off the beaten path (check your Gazeteer!).  The Wisconsin Concrete Park is known to many as the granddaddy of Wisconsin’s art environments, and includes over 200 outstanding sculptures created by lumberjack Fred Smith, who once said, “It’s gotta be in ya’ to do it.”  Isn’t that the truth?

The competition starts at 8:00 am Saturdays and ends on Sunday at 4 pm.  Judging will occur Sunday at 4:00 pm.  Each environment has a slightly different twist in schedules so contact them in advance if you need to be sure of something.

August 10-11

Nick Engelbert’s Grandview, 7351 State Highway 39, Hollandale, WI (Iowa County, 9 miles east of Mineral Point).  Email: grandview@nicksgrandview.com

James Tellen’s Woodland Sculpture Garden, 5634 Evergreen Drive, Sheboygan, WI, Email wandeingwisconsin@jmkac.org

August 17-18

Ernest Hupeden’s Painted Forest, Painted Forest Drive, Valton, WI  (just east of Cazenovia), Email: wanderingwisconsin@jmkac.org

Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park, N8236 Highway 13, Phillips, WI, Email: fofs@pctcnet.net

Monkey Tree at Grandview

Monkey Tree at Grandview

Each site will award three prizes each for three age groups: Children up to 13 (first prize is $50), young adults 13-18 (first prize – $150) and adults (first prize – $300).  Better yet, photographs will be taken of each event’s winning entries and automatically entered in a statewide competition with the same prize categories and amounts.

Workshop schedules vary a bit so contact the sites.  Grandview will have a workshop in the morning each day – a great experience for the kids.  Two sites offer camping but all have lodging nearby if you want to make a weekend of it.  Grandview will feature the Moo Grass String Band from 4-6 pm on Sunday August 11th – bring a lawn chair and your favorite beverage.  Snacks will be available.

For more information and competition guidelines contact the individual sites or email wanderingwisconsin@jmkac.org.

James Tellen's Woodland Sculpture Garden

James Tellen’s Woodland Sculpture Garden

Wandering Wisconsin is a program of the Wisconsin Art Environment Consortium, a group representing nine art environments, including the Carl Peterson Garden, Dickeyville Grotto, Rudolf Grotto Gardens and Wonder Cave, Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto, and the Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum.

And it’s all free, how about that?  Thanks to sponsor the Kohler Foundation you can bring a carload to this family event and have the neighbors join you.    

The Wandering Wisconsin Plein Air Competition has something for everyone – fun for the whole family!  And it’s a great way to become acquainted with some of Wisconsin’s unique treasures, which you’ll want to visit again and again.

Rick Rolfsmeyer, Hollandale, WI (pop. 288)


The meaning of life

July 22, 2013
Prairie Flowers

The Heart of the Matter” report riffs off recent attention given to STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) by saying the humanities are the bloom on the stem. Photo by Jessica Becker (via Instagram and facebook)

The humanities world is talking about a new report, released by The Academy of Arts & Sciences, calling attention to the importance of the humanities in 2013. I already believe the humanities are important, but it’s still nice to read editorials and listen to radio talk shows that bring together people who have done the research and given a lot of thought to these things. Like, how many people are working toward humanities degrees (only 7% according to David Brook’s NYTimes piece), what employers are looking for (curiosity, creativity, humility…), and how a humanistic approach is understood to be critical for countries working their way into first-world nation status (like China and Russia). If you don’t have time to read the report itself, there is a 7 minute video here, and after reading Mary Rizzo’s commentary suggesting the new report sounds a lot like the 1964 version, I guess I’d recommend the short-form.

Many of us would prefer the quick version. I mean, who has time for the full report? That reality has me thinking about how things have changed since 1964. I’m thinking of blogs, instagram, pinterest, twitter, tumblr, flikr and, yes, facebook.  I believe people are by nature humanists and we modern humans are on over-drive to keep up with the speed at which our world is spinning. Isn’t it all a huge humanities endeavor? Looking through my facebook newsreel today, I find people:

-reflecting on issues (“These photos are so fascinating and sad at the same time.” responding to the modern ruins in Detroit)

-reminding themselves and others to celebrate the richness of life (“First cherry tomatoes of the season will be in tomorrow’s lunchboxes.”)

-encouraging conversation around ideas (“in case you missed it, an article on what the brain can tell us about art.”).

-building community (A link to  “The City Paper” on Borracho’s new record! “We’re celebrating tonight at RnR Hotel. Come rock with us!”)

-and searching for meaning in the mundane (“This morning, as I’m trying to work at home, all I’ve heard is, “When I get my blog, I’m totally going to write about how you never change your underwear.” “When I get MY blog I’m going to post a picture of you crying like a baby.”)

I could go on, but it’s hard to look at my newsreel without getting sucked in. There is so much to comment on, share, and follow.

“The humanities” are, quite simply, the different ways we as humans have come up with for looking at the world and making meaning of it. The humanities are studied in academic disciplines (like philosophy, literature, linguistics, art history, folklore, anthropology, and history), and the report encourages folks to remember that the distinctions we have more recently (in historical time) made between the sciences, arts, and humanities are detrimental to both a real education and getting a job.

Less public money is being directed toward “the humanities” and that has a lot of us worried since how we spend our money indicates what we value.  However, I have no fear that our search for the meaning of life will wither and die. I see it everywhere in all that we do.

I’m worried that we’ll all drown in our ongoing, non-stop chatter into the e-niverse about how meaningful every little thing is and we’ll forget how to sit still, grow bored, and wonder if life is, actually, meaningless.

The wondering, I know, is worthy.

by Jessica Becker (why not follow me on Instagram?)
Director of Public Programs, Wisconsin Humanities Council

Instagram


Doing it for the kids

June 19, 2013
Wayne Valliere, packing canoe bark out of the birch forest, in the summer of 2012. Photo by Tim Frandy

Wayne Valliere, packing canoe bark out of the birch forest. Photo by Tim Frandy 2012

I am really concerned that kids are not getting useful and appropriate educations based on what we know to be useful and appropriate ways to educate kids. Research shows all sorts of things, and yet schools systems do other things. There are so many examples I dare not go into it (and so many reasons why, the road-blocks to change sometimes feel insurmountable). Happily, I know there are independent and creative thinkers who are working their butts off to add opportunities for meaningful and transformative experiences to the lives of youth.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council, where I work, has seven grant rounds every year. I am so proud of the projects we fund and also proud that a good number of them are designed to enrich humanities education for the youth of Wisconsin.

For example, a project called “These Canoes Carry Culture” awarded to the Goodman Community Center. This collaborative effort makes it possible for an Ojibwe artist, culture bearer and language teacher named Wayne Valliere to work side-by-side with a small group of young people from Madison and Lac du Flambeau to build a birch bark canoe. They will build it from scratch, making trips to gather materials from the particular forests and fields where the particular materials grow at a particular time of year. The kids will have time to talk to each other about what it is like to live in the city, or live on a reservation, while they are learning a disciplined craft and dying art from a master. They will read and discuss history and language and tradition, but not in a formal classroom with tests and grades. Instead, they’ll be exchanging ideas as they create, ultimately, a boat that will be on display in the new Dejope student dorm on campus.  The project brings together educators from community centers and academics from many departments at UW. It will be documented in a film and hopefully serve as a model for future community-university-folk artist partnerships. All wonderful and admirable. What most excites me is remembering what it was like to be a teenager and projecting what I imagine will be a life-altering experience for the kids involved. I believe this project will influence how these kids see the world and themselves in it, for the better.

Another inspired effort comes from Arts @ Large, a non-profit that works from within the Milwaukee School District to create “arts-infused learning.” They are responding to serious issues and producing serious outcomes that are student-led and student-centric. They have recently partnered with a group called Serve2Unite and together are creating student chapters of the organization dedicated to spreading peace through understanding, tolerance and, education.  Serve2Unite was formed after the tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012 where a gunman walked into a Sikh Temple opened fire, killing six members of the 400-person congregation.  They work to fight hate in the form of bullying and other violent crimes. Arts @ Large Serve2Unite chapters will research and develop service projects so that students learn, through doing, how to be agents of change, and social wellness, in their own families an communities. I heard some of the kids who have been involved in past Arts @ Large efforts speak recently and was impressed. Here, too, I see an example of how teenagers are treated as human beings with value, life experiences, and skills to bring to the table.

We know that kids, and more immediately teenagers, are the future leaders of the world. I’m excited about projects and places where they get to shine, speak up, hone skills, teach and learn from each other, and find meaning in their lives. I want that for my kids and all the kids, everywhere.

Read more about projects funded by the Wisconsin Humanities Council here.

by Jessica Becker
Director of Public Programs
Wisconsin Humanities Council


A chicken crosses the road

May 31, 2013
Chickens in Nyanga

Chickens in Nyanga, South Africa. Photo by Jessica Becker

“In spite of my grandmother’s careful tutelage, I have long forgotten how to tat, and to that skill loss, I say good riddance. There is a reason that the French word for tatting is derived from frivolite. But how far down this road of incapableness am I willing to travel?”

-Sandra Steingraber, ORION Magazine Jan/Feb 2009

There was an exhibition called “Vital Skills” at the Watrous Gallery in Madison that probed this question. I found myself returning to walk through the collection several times and then thinking about what skills I personally value, and possess. What seems most crucial for my children to learn, either from me or others? It’s not hard to imagine a world they might live in as adults, but it’s bound to be different than I could ever predict.

Often on travels outside the U.S. I am struck by the fact that people seem, by nature or necessity, more resourceful than I am. It’s not that I don’t have some talents, but as a 21st century American, I honestly count knowing how to tie shoes as a skill I intend to pass on to my daughters. I’ll have to be deliberate about it! Velcro and crocs are sending the old bow-knot the way of lace-making and chicken-butchering.

Years back, after a trip to Cuba, where chickens run free and many were killed expressly for me to eat, I felt particularly inept. The urban-chicken movement was taking off and I jumped on the bandwagon. I bought four teenage layers from a farm outside of the city and tried to acclimate them to an urban setting. My neighbors, a sales and repair shop for lawn mowers, were loud and made the birds skittish. The birds themselves made me skittish—I never got good at catching them with my hands—and more than once I wished I’d had more of a 4-h education.

My dad, who grew up on a farm, came to visit and helped me chase chickens that had escaped and were trying to cross the road. He took me to private language lessons and coached my baseball team but didn’t teach me much about poultry.

Man with chickens in India

Man with his chickens in India. Photo by Jessica Becker

Eventually I decided to have the chickens butchered as I wasn’t getting many eggs. The entire experiment was celebrated with a closing feast of chicken tortilla soup.

That was not even ten years ago. Backyard chickens were the gateway drug and now neighbors and friends are trying out bees, goats, and more. These are folks with no personal background with farm life, just the idea that they want to know how to do stuff. I think it’s because we want to feel resourceful.

Ultimately, I don’t think the details matter as much as the attitude. Thinking again of the exhibition of beautiful hand-made brooms and skillfully designed blown glass, I suspect that teaching my kids to tie their shoes might be more about slowing down to learn a skill rather than because tied shoes are going to serve them better than slip-ons in the future.

by Jessica Becker
Director of Public Programs
Wisconsin Humanities Council

Vital Skills was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.


Bernard J. Roberts: A Curatorial Treasure

November 28, 2012

“Current,”  Bronze, 26″ x 42″ x 25, 2004

My strong attraction to several fluidly carved wood forms, bronze sculptures, white Gessoed brightly colored wood constructions, and heretofore unknown textures created by powder bug infestations, enticed

Untitled Stick Form
 Powder Bug Wood and gesso
33″x 21″ x 11″
Circa 1993

me to repeatedly visit the gallery exhibition Out of the Forest, Into the Furnace – Bernard J. Roberts Bronze and Wood Sculpture. Continuing through December 26, 2012, Roberts’ passion for and exploration of his obvious muse “nature” inhabits every piece.  Worthy of his zeal, Vanguard Sculpture Services masterfully provided the extraordinary vision, teamwork, expertise, and “elbow” grease, demanded to bring this exhibition into fruition.

Bernard J. Roberts’ death, on July 19, 2011, greatly impacted and delayed plans for his retrospective at Vanguard’s gallery space – then under construction. Curated by gallery director Beth Sahagian, Roberts’ exhibition opened, a year later, July 24, 2012 in “THE GALLERY,” a pristine space deftly conceived and built by Shagian’s husband, Ed Sahagian-Allsopp and Vanguard’s staff.   Sahagian and Mike Nolte, Vanguard Sculpture Services founders, lead by Roberts’ son Aari and daughter Andrea, selected 150 art pieces from his estate. Sahagian and Nolte effectively guided foundry artists Tom Clark, Chris Andrews, Care Ekpo, and Ed Sahagian-Allsopp through cleaning and restoration of at least 110 pieces. The team’s masterful skills and curatorial decisions result in an intriguing visual presentation of Roberts’ stunningly seductive abstract carvings and bronzes, exploratory ceramics, whimsical assemblages, and conceptual constructions.

Untitled Bowl Form. Carved White Oak, 4″ x 12″ x 8,” Circa 1978

From his published biography, he was the first of his siblings to earn degrees. Beginning at University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point in wildlife ecology, he realized his passion for art and transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1960; a Masters of Science in ceramics and sculpture in 1966; and finally completing his formal education  with a Masters in Fine Art in 1969.    He married, raised two children, taught school, and finally settled on creating artwork from 1992 onward. Over the years he showed widely in galleries and museums throughout the Midwest. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Neville Public Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.   Over 400 hand carvings and assembled wood pieces reflect his

“Yellow Germination”
16″ x 22″ x 15”
Wood , foam and paint
Circa 1988

interest in mitosis, waves, seedpods, growth, ovum, male and female forms, topography, and germination. As an avid naturalist, craftsman, teacher, and restorer of prairies, his lifelong stewardship of native Wisconsin prairies and forests coincided with his fervor for making art.

Storage Barn on the Robert’s estate.
Photo courtesy of Vanguard.

Sahagian added, “He bought a barren farm and planted 15 acres of arborvitae and black walnut trees making the entire property a forest and simultaneously fodder for his art. Pulling trees out of the ground, he threw them into the swamp to loosen the bark, bugs, and dirt. Then after sun drying and bleaching, Bernie stored them from floor to ceiling for future use along with his plethora of collected objects, unfinished sculptures, and countless boxes of ideas sketched on anything.” Aari, said, “He was always making art.”

Sahagian frequently spoke with Roberts, who in 1998 became one of Vanguard’s earliest clients. Offering important insights into his background, she said, “Bernie built several barn- like structures for studio space including a home for his family. Every surface seemed to be touched by his creativity, including textured ceilings, unique flooring, wood furniture, light fixtures, functional wood bowls, spoons, and even carved jewelry. Everywhere, one sees something unique. For example, known for a great sense of humor, between the house and his vegetable garden he poured a curvilinear sidewalk in the shape of a woman and planted a triangular grouping of forget-me-nots, appropriately, between the thighs and the navel.”

“Centipede Table,” Honey locust wood, 17″ x 50″ x 22,” Circa 1972

Curating her first retrospective and solo exhibition, Sahagian

“Hurdler of Hearts,” Wood , Gesso, paint, 23″ x 32″ x 8″ Circa 2009

quickly developed new insights into both the artist and his artwork, as did other Vanguard artists. She believes this is because Roberts always delivered one style of work to the foundry for casting. She said, “The sheer number of pieces, diverse styles, and materials completely changed the way I saw his studio practice. I was touched emotionally by the sensitive nature of the subject matter and his love for the materials he used. I often find myself smiling when I think of him pulling the perfect piece of wood off the pile or working on a particular piece. I see now why a person might choose to be a curator, the commitment allows an unusual amount of time with an artist’s work, what better way to get to know someone?”

Visit the website at: http://www.vanguardsculptureservices.com or Vanguard’s Facebook page for current gallery and foundry events and projects. Call 414.444.5508 or visit at 3374 West Hopkins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ed Sahagian-Allsopp photo credit.

Submitted by Evelyn Patricia Terry. She can be contacted for feedback at terryevelyn@hotmail.com with any corrections or editing input.