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Monday, Sept. 23, 2013

Art from the Plains

Solien’s Soul at Tory Folliard

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TL Solien, a highly credentialed artist, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Moorhead State University in Minnesota and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Solien is a genuine guy from the plains, but he’s no John Wayne.

From Sept. 13-Oct. 12, you can sample his style in an exhibition titled “The Loneliest Gods,” when he takes a stand at Tory Folliard Gallery in the Third Ward (233 N Milwaukee St.). Don’t expect a roundup of cowboys and Indians rendered in the conservative style of Frederic Remington, or the many artists who produced, and still produce, “Western” art for the tourist trade.

Expect instead, his twist (think Dali, Disney, et al.) on the westward trek of pioneers. Symbols and myths ride across his color-rich compositions, and bring to mind the stuff jettisoned along the route. It’s doubtful that the trip to the “ultimate West,” where the blue Pacific laps the land of golden opportunity, was worth the pioneers’ trouble. The setting sun as a pot of gold anchoring their rainbow, made a bundle for very few (think railroad barons), and many of the homesteaders stayed on the hard scrabble land, starved in drought-ridden years or returned from whence they came. Held aloft by quite a bit of hot air, the romance of pioneer life is shot down by Solien, a master craftsman and a Madison educator with a keen eye for satire.

Still, the question remains: who are “The Loneliest Gods”? Those who create the myths, or those who dare to think otherwise?