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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Studies in Contrast

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Experimentalart opposes traditional art, youth meets longevity and simplicity confronts complexity in a new exhibition opening March 14 at the Tory Folliard Gallery. It includes “Ink Paintings” by Boris Ostrerov, winner of the thirdannual Tory Folliard Gallery Project.

Initiated by the gallery, this project provides an opportunity for an advanced-painting student at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) or the UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts to exhibit undergraduate artwork. The project also allows emerging artists to experience the business side of art from the gallery’s perspective, part of Folliard’s desire to demonstrate how professional artists are able to survive in a competitive economic environment.

The faculty of the chosen college hand-picks five to nine finalists for review. Before determining a winner, Folliard and manager Nicole K. Reid interview and visit all of the finalists at their studios, searching for unique artistic statements along with a cohesive body of artwork. This year the gallery selected the sophisticated and innovative paintings of MIAD senior Ostrerov.

Ostrerov, born in the Soviet Union, came to America with his family in 1992. He credits his grandmother for inspiring his ambitions. Over the last year he developed large-scale India ink pieces he describes as “serendipitous balances between chance

and calculated precision.” By pouring ebony liquid into curled pieces of white paper, the resulting paintings represent a spontaneous expression of art. Sparse and stark, these images recall the simplified and monochromatic visions of Paul Klee. Ostrerov says the project award reaffirms the direction of his art.

“As an artist, you work in isolation, but a show is releasing the work to the public for understanding,” he says. “When you show your work, you come into existence as an artist.” From the unknown to the well known, “Anne Miotke: Stilllifes from the Pabst Mansion” displays the newest and best work of this Milwaukee artist. Miotke’s 15 paintings were produced from photographs collected at the Pabst Mansion, often in rooms closed to the public. Her richly colored and layered still-lifes showcase her precise mastery of light, shadow and detail.

These exquisite watercolors include Pabst Mansion: Dining Room Buffet with Tureen, a serene and complicated composition that highlights a gold-gilded soup tureen, teacup and Battenberg lace napkin against the curve of a Rococo sideboard.

Miotke’s depiction of dimension and ornate elegance with every object develops the tactile qualities in the picture, creating a breathtaking snapshot of this historic interior. By displaying these same qualities in a humble setting, The Pabst Mansion: Kitchen Preparations mixes Miotke’s proficiency with the pure beauty of watercolor.

Along with those works, another artist, Mark Horton, offers his oils on linen in “Cityscapes.” You can contemplate the divergent styles of these emerging and established artists at an artists’ reception on March 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.