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Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013

Current Tendencies III

Art of the present comments on art of the past

Current Tendencies
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At Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art, past and present converge in the third edition of the biennial exhibition series, “Current Tendencies III: Artists From Milwaukee.” This time, nine Milwaukee artists selected artworks from the Haggerty’s permanent collection to inspire new images or installations in the hope that viewers will gain fresh insight and perspective by placing those works in a contemporary context.

Each artist inhabits an individual gallery space. Mark Mulhern filled an entire room with drawings, sketches and paintings dialoguing with Karl Priebe’s mixed media postcard series (1950-1956) illustrating playful birds. Mulhern’s large-scale images echo the simplicity of Priebe’s avian drawings; fleeting and gestural renderings of pigeons remind the viewer that art can open the eyes to the humblest of creatures and create beautiful memories.

Jon Horvath lightly satirized several works, including René Magritte’s 1937 lithograph La Solution de Rébus and Joel Myerowitz’s 1965 silver gelatin print New Year’s Eve, NYC (Kiss Me Stupid). In Horvath’s revision, Stupid, 2013, tape is placed on plexiglass over Myerowitz’s printed photo to convey a dramatic moment with humor.

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design professor Jason S. Yi constructed a site-specific installation, Terraform 01, 2013, based on Joachim Brohm’s photograph, On Fire (1983-1984). Yi’s monumental 20-foot-tall structure dwarfs humans¾perhaps symbolic of the power inherent in natural forces, mirroring the flames engulfing the abandoned vehicle in Brohm’s chromogenic print.

Up-and-coming printmaker Tyanna Buie’s full wall installation incorporates the museum’s decorative arts. Sterling silverware placed on pedestals shines against Buie’s monotyped, screenprinted and hand-applied ink wallpaper colored in jewel tones. Titled Found Heirlooms, the exquisite presentation highlights these precious objects that symbolize status.

In another site-specific installation, Cassandra Smith and Jessica Steeber designed a two-story midnight blue painted wall faced with golden-studded ornamentation, titled Circumstantial, 2013. The pair’s very patterned, organized response contrasts Tom Wudl’s dreamlike, surreal 1992 oil on canvas Circumstances Leading to the Discovery of the Unconscious.

Each of these artists—along with Jean Roberts Gueiquierre, Evan Gruzis and William Carpenter—mounted additional artwork to question how historical artworks resonate in 21st-century culture. “Current Tendencies III” marvelously complements another exhibition in the museum’s second floor gallery, “Re-seeing the Permanent Collection: The Viewer’s Voice,”—both offer extraordinary examples of how art’s legacy continues to connect with modern life. “Current Tendencies” continues through Dec. 22, and artists Tyanna Buie and Evan Gruzis will deliver a free lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. in the appellate courtroom of Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.


Correction: In the Aug. 22 issue the link to the online version of the A&E Gateway “Art Circles” was misprinted. The correct link is: expressmilwaukee.com/article-21670-art-circles.html.
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