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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Week, Two Extraordinary Exhibits

Can’t-miss shows at Museum of Wisconsin Art, Tory Folliard Gallery

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The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MWA) and Tory Folliard Gallery host two extraordinary experiences this week. Each gallery’s exhibition promises a fresh glimpse of contemporary life.

One of the most expansive collections of modern portraiture in several years opens June 2 at the MWA. The exhibition “To See Ourselves as Others See Us: Contemporary Wisconsin Portraits” (through Aug. 29) features ceramics, paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures that reflect this concept. Curators Graeme Reid (MWA assistant director) and Debra Brehmer (Portrait Society Gallery director) selected more than 50 images from artists that represent a wide variety of career stages, from the new graduate to the well-established professional.

In a series of 15 miniatures, Milwaukee’s Fred Bell transfers his popular emotive self-portraits to the museum. Melissa Cooke offers surreal contortions to the human face. Katie Musolff portrays neighbors from rural Wisconsin. Esteemed artist Mark Mulhern contrasts gestural figures with Marc Sijan’s hyper-realistic sculptures. Sarah Detweiler, Gary S. Kampe, Demetra Copoulos, Lindsay Lochman and Barbara Ciurej are also featured.

Drawing particular interest will be the winner from the National Portrait Gallery competition, David Lenz. His commission from this prestigious event evolved into a portrait of Eunice Shriver Kennedy that honors her dedication to the Special Olympics, an organization she helped to found. Though the finished portrait hangs in Washington, D.C., the MWA will exhibit a study from this lengthy process.

Reid and Brehmer have composed an eclectic collection of sublime portraiture. A 1:30 p.m. reception on Sunday, June 6, features exhibiting artists. The MWA also offers Sneak Peek Friday for a 10:30 a.m. preview June 4.

Beloved artist Marion Coffey presents her latest solo exhibition at Tory Folliard Gallery in an exhibit that paints the city and life within. “Marion Coffey: Home” (June 4 through July 10) returns Coffey to her Milwaukee roots.

Coffey’s travels had expanded previous exhibitions to faraway destinations, including Europe and Africa. In this exhibit, familiar Milwaukee cityscapes, along with smaller still lifes, showcase the artist’s vigor for vibrant hues and broad, spontaneous brush strokes.

Whether capturing a pear set on a plate or the scenery on Milwaukee’s RiverWalk, Coffey’s colorful viewpoints affirm her passion for painting. Coffey will attend a 5-7 p.m. reception on June 4 at Tory Folliard Gallery.

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