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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Museum of Wisconsin Art Showcases McCormick, Printmakers

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Two noteworthy exhibitions presenting memorable artists from all over the state open at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MWA) on July 1.

The MWA's intimate One From Wisconsin gallery features exceptional artists working in an array of mediums. In July it houses the work of George Ray McCormick Sr., whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. McCormick draws from Folk Art tradition as well as his spiritual beliefs to create brilliantly colored bas-relief images incised with text. Approximately 10 of these paintings are mounted alongside his three-dimensional found object sculptures in the MWA exhibit.

Now in his 60s and still working daily at a foundry, McCormick continues to produce insightful comments on spirituality through innovative works that defy genre. "While capturing a wonderful naivet, there is a complex, sophisticated thought beyond George's artwork," says Graeme Reid, MWA's assistant director.

In the MWA's Main Gallery, "From One, Many: Contemporary Wisconsin Prints" presents more than 25 printmakers whose spectrum of techniques reflects their wide-spanning backgrounds. The 50 pieces featured in the exhibit include monotypes, mezzotints, engravings, etchings, digital prints and screen-prints, among others, and honor a long legacy of distinguished Wisconsin printmaking. "With the permutations on printmaking, there will always be artists pushing the envelope…so that it becomes a new art form," explains Reid, who curated this original exhibit.

This mix of established and up-and-coming Wisconsin artists showcases a multitude of individual styles, expanding printmaking's history of creative, social and political commentary. The exhibit pairs the well known Larry Basky, Ray Gloeckler, Rina Yoon and Mark Mulhern with new talents Colin Matthes and Dorota Biczel Nelson. An opening reception in mid-July invites the printmakers to share their inspirations with the public. For further details, contact the museum at (262) 334-9638.

Printmaking proves to be one of the most affordable mediums to collect, a theme addressed in the MWA's recently inaugurated series of programs taking place on the fourth Thursday of every other month. The second event, June 25 from 5 to 8 p.m., hosts several Milwaukee gallery owners to discuss "The Art of Affordable Collecting." For $5, the evening provides special food and drink paired with stimulating conversation.