Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

Revive at Tory Folliard's "COLOR!"

By Peggy Sue
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In a serendipitous complement to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s recently opened exhibition “Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America,” Tory Folliard Gallery presents their interpretation of how artists explore color in the exhibition titled “COLOR!”  While no photography arrived at Folliard’s gallery this winter, ten fine artists find their individual expression by working with vibrant hues that offers a welcome respite from winter’s grey days. Just by walking into the gallery, the human spirit immediately rises to another emotional level, reveling in the brightness that surrounds one inside instead of the bleak chill outside.

Colors in an evening summer sky inspire Jeremy Popelka’s Murani glass vessels he titles in his series Sunset Tapestry. The multicolored glass meticulously pieced and then fired together revisits an Italian process used centuries ago, a process mastered by few American artists that he adopts with modern detail, richness. and innovative color proportion. Each vessel  Popelka creates explodes with sunlit shades to fascinate a viewer at any time of day.

Milwaukee artist Richard Taylor features work from his Urban Bop series, sculptures constructed in powder coated aluminum where each piece resonates with a lyrical rhythm reflecting the character of a specific place, similar to a contemporary three dimensional interpretation of jazz. Taylpor’s muted Tiffany blue sculpture Urban Bop/Washington and Clinton could refer to either Hilary or William with a 'x' and a '2' easily identified within the geometric pieces, carefully placed and teetering in his artist's  tower. 

Using hundreds of hand colored and hand cut miniature paper pieces, Madison’s Michael Velliquette imagines a robot like figure titled Power Seeker, on view while encased in glass. His compulsive technique references the ‘paper cutting’ traditions observed in numerous cultures, especially the German and Latino, which Velliquette transforms to another, superior level moving from consummate craft to complex fine art.

Fantasy and function merge in Bill Reid’s fanciful, handpainted metal sculptures. The Racine artist’s piece Womanta Ray pierces metal so his table lamp resembles a Caribbean pink sea creature, complete with tropical flowers peeking thorugh the lamp shade. These delightful creations bring a smile to the spirit, and the playful light source invites a positive energy to any environment, a sure conversation starter in or out of the gallery.

These few selections represent only a smattering of artwork included in Foliard’s  “COLOR!” exhibition. Derrick Buisch (exhibiting an immense abstract grid of deconstructed, object images),  Anoka Faruqee (optic delights resembling a dazzling kaleidoscope). Ben Grant (whose folded paintings covered with unconventional patterns, plaids and stripes, cross the line between two and three dimensions), Trent Miller, Jason Rohlf and steel furniture maker Jim Rose present incredible contemporary expressions to lifesize, living color manifested in their fine art. Revive this winter, when one needs time to recreate themselves: visit the gallery space to remember a summer sunset, a stroll along a street in a familiar place, a pattern from a favorite childhood piece of cloth or a place in the mind’s eye where one travels when the ordinary becomes only moments of mere black and white. Discover the healing wonder of “COLOR” again as Folliard’s exhibition continues through March 9. (www.toryfolliard,com) 

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