Our long summer days present an opportunity to
experience art en plein air, where light and shadow add a sensuous dimension to
artwork and create a subtle context through which it can be interpreted.
This concept can be seen in the “Focus on Figures”
exhibit at the GrohmannMuseum,
located on the campus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). The
museum’s “Rooftop Grand Opening” features a dozen 9-foot-high sculptures that
replicate smaller bronze statues from the permanent “Man at Work” collection.
Each of these figures depicts a laborer toiling at industrial work and
delineates the perimeter of the green garden space.
While the smaller bronzes were cast monochromatically
and exhibited in the enclosed rotunda, their larger counterparts’ colored
patinas and enamels showcase elements of the human form and clothing to create
visual interest in an outdoor setting. Several of the statues, including The Railroad Worker, The Steel Worker and The Old
Miner,portray men hoisting
anvils or foundry ladles. A sculpture cast after a bronze by Constantin-Emile
Meunier (1831-1905), titled Female Mine
Worker, honors women who contributed to agricultural and industrial
In addition to the oversized sculptures, six life-size
figures will pay tribute to everyday work and create an extraordinary vision
set against Milwaukee’s
skyline. Also being unveiled is the new 12-by-24-foot mural by industrial
realist H.D. Tylle, painted with special pigment uniquely formulated for the outdoor
elements. The mural is based on one of the MSOE collection’s oldest
paintings—dating from the 1600s—and documents a rural river valley used for
The rooftop sculpture garden’s “Focus on Figures”
will be open free of charge July 25, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, July 26,
from 12 to 5 p.m., which coincides with summer Gallery Night and Day. Milwaukee sculptor Tom
Queoff hosts a workshop on the “lost wax” method of constructing a sculpture
from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 25.
The WoodsonArt Museum in Wausau
recently renewed its sculpture garden with six new abstract sculptures by Maryland public artist
Wendy Ross, a graduate of UW-Madison. Her welded steel structures have been
commissioned for the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol, as well as the
National Park Service. This intriguing exhibit, “Hidden Designs: Sculpture by
Wendy Ross,” offers another opportunity to explore art in the open air.