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Monday, Dec. 22, 2008

The Creative Spirit

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The spirit of giving permeates the city during December. Likewise, the creative spirit of the arts also brightens these cold winter days.

In September, the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MWA) hosted a "One from Wisconsin" show featuring the collaboration of Bay View artist Charles Dwyer and Milwaukee resident Jerry Pfeil. Dwyer enlisted the help of Pfeil, whom he found outside his door one summer day, homeless and hungry. Through a mutually beneficial arrangement, Dwyer taught Pfeil the art of printmaking, specifically etching techniques.

Their work, which recalls the angst and angular design of German Expressionism, fascinated viewers at an opening reception that showed off approximately a dozen prints that Pfeil rightfully took pride in.

Mary DiBiasio, a young artist currently exhibiting at the Armoury Gallery, displays prints and contour drawings of human hands that express her interest in how they change over time. DiBiasio, a recent Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design graduate, suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, so she can only pull her prints or draw when medication causes the pain in her hands to subside.

Working full-time in retail to maintain her art career, DiBiasio enthusiastically pushes forward in new directions using a variety of media. While she acknowledges that the arthritis will continue to affect her drawings, her creative spirit refuses to diminish. Watch for this up-and-coming artist to make her mark in Milwaukee's art community.

At other galleries, including the Tory Folliard Gallery, the MWA and Door County's Edgewood Orchard Galleries, the enduring work of artists in their later years conveys youthful passion. Whether it is the carnival colors of Marion Coffey's bright acrylics, Flora Langlois' intimate and magical landscapes, or Arthur Thrall's curvaceous and sensuous line prints, each of these artists continues to create every day.

Together, these artists and their works brighten the dark days of winter through a creative spirit that refuses to dim.

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