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Monday, July 27, 2009

Charles Allis Presents ‘Katie Musolff: Artist and Model’

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When artist Katie Musolff paints a portrait, she reveals both the physical and psychological characteristics of her subject. A number of these revelations will be on display at the Charles Allis Art Museum, which features this 2007 Forward Competition award-winner in "Katie Musolff: Artist and Model." This solo exhibit, running Aug. 5 through Nov. 8, includes more than 30 oil paintings exploring four subjects.

Musolff's portraiture garnered attention at the 2004 Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Senior Exhibition and led to a "One from Wisconsin" exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art the following year. Now represented by the Historic Third Ward's Elaine Erickson Gallery, Musolff has traveled into unknown territory with her gouache, pencil and watercolor works on paper of landscape, nudes and Wisconsin freshwater fish. By renewing her connection with figure drawing and exquisitely capturing these small creatures in another media, Musolff has added more intimacy to her creative work.

Musolff delves deeper into contemporary portraiture with oil on linen canvases that imbue her subjects with the breath of life. Picturing family, friends and people who have been marginalized in our society, Musolff seeks to portray each person's unique dignity and humanity. The Charles Allis exhibit showcases Musolff's portraits along with several chalk on paper studies.

The "St. Ann Series" on the museum's main level displays larger-scale images in the form of residents from the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. Musolff uncovers their defining qualities with tender but vibrant compassion, as seen in the 45-by-45.5 inch Ron: The Miracle Man. Another series presents Musolff's vision of the nude, seen in Jenny Marie with Kimono, which moves into a palette where the clothing pattern of jeweled colors contrasts with the dark skin of the model. Other sections feature the artist's self-portraits and figures culled from the fabric of her daily life.

Musolff's paintings provide an opportunity to discover the individuality within each person, and she challenges viewers to love and accept all of humanity. To provide additional insight, Musolff writes "interesting side notes," which illustrate the collaborative process that transpires between artist and model.

An opening reception begins at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, and Musolff will participate in a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. with David Lenz, Mark Dziewior and moderator Cynthia Hayes.

Curator Martha Monroe describes this extraordinary exhibit by explaining, "Musolff becomes an important presence on the local art scene, and this is a survey of her work and themes, her progression to date."