Saturday, May 23, 2009

Collecting and Creating Prints@Elaine Erickson Gallery

By Peggy Sue
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On July 1 Elaine Erickson, together with her gallery housed in the Historic Third Ward's Marshall Building, celebrate four years of her passion for art. While a relative newcomer to the gallery scene in Milwaukee, she represents a number of estates from prestigious Wisconsin artists including Joseph Friebert, Schomer Lichtner, Charles Thwaites and Ruth Grotenrath. On June 6, a new art show opens at the gallery featuring a selection of vintage prints from the late art gallery owner, Dede Sherkow. The exhibition titled "Collecting-Creating Prints" will feature works on paper dated from 1850 through 2009 and coordinate with two lectures. Erickson chats with excitement about printmaking and this upcoming show.

Q: What is so exciting about this print exhibition?
A: You know what's interesting, that I start pulling the prints out [from the Sherkow Collection] and they are really, really good stuff, some very famous artists. There's a portfolio of seven prints⎯all German artists⎯from a famous man who wrote art books. And then I discover each of the art books is an example of one of these artists in the portfolio that he is talking about.

Q: What are some of the names of these artists?

Many of them are now deceased, like Steinlen, Leonard Baskin, Ben Shahn, Carol Appel, and Sonja Delauney, but there are also some by Leger and Lautrec. Beverly Pepper is still alive. Several come from the CoBra School, a modern art movement.

Q: What was the CoBra art movement?

A: This was a post-war modern art school that was known for their vibrant use of colors, and a combination of surreal and fantasy filled subject material. This was to oppose the post war gloom that was being felt in Europe at the time, based in expressionism, but today still affects the global art world, and is interesting to see in some of the older prints.

Q: Who will be giving the first lecture on June 10th?

Kevin Milaeger will be talking at 6:30 p.m. on "A Passion for Collecting." He has the largest collection of prints from Wisconsin anywhere in the Midwest. He collects early WPA artists, like Robert Schelm.

Q: And the other artist's lecture on June 24th?
A: Two artists who are very innovative and teach at UW-Milwaukee will be talking on "Printing Time and Space" at 6:30 p.m. This is Jessica Meuninck-Ganger and Nathaniel Stern, who teach printmaking, and now incorporate videos into their prints. It's very exciting to see their work.

Q: Are there any other contemporary artists you represent that you would like to mention?
A: Not a printmaker but a sculptor, Rory Burke is now represented by a gallery in Europe and Thomas Martin Gallery in Chicago just picked her up, a very special artist.  I feature Burke here in Milwaukee since she graduated from UWM. At Art Chicago last month two of her sculptures sold for over one thousand dollars⎯so accolades to Rory who will be showing her work in July on Gallery Night as part of the three-dimensional show that will be here. Congratulations to her!

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