‘Saving the Sanctuary’—new exhibit at Freeport Art Museum
From press release
Originating as a name for hallowed space, the term sanctuary can refer to a holy building as in a temple or a church, a private space, the forgiveness of a debt or a prison sentence, or the feeling of personal refuge. For the artists featured in this exhibit, all of whom are residents of southern Wisconsin and affiliated with the University of Wisconsin, “Saving the Sanctuary” represents the preservation and protection of their close relationships, the environment in which they live, and meaningful objects that hold value above all others. Inspired by their favorite places and spaces, their work makes reference to the rich abundance of their natural surroundings while acting as a means to seeking opportunities to serve as stewards for these things that matter the most.
Nancy Mladenoff, a professor of painting and drawing who works primarily in mixed media and watercolor, often takes her daily runs through woods filled with large varieties of birds, insects and fungi. She brings a great love of the outdoors and a subsequent concern for the sustained health of natural environments to her dynamic and complex paintings.
Kim Cridler is a trained metalsmith and an assistant professor of art metals. Her work has been influenced by memories of growing up on a farm, and by coming to understand her family’s history through stories associated with articles in the home—especially treasured, decorative objects. She remarks that this, in turn, led to a greater sense of connectedness and responsibility to her family and their land.
Steve Feren, a professor of art glass, uses the seemingly contradictory qualities of thick cast glass—its delicate, crystalline transparency and high tensile strength, to capture an idealized moment in time. His Wisconsin series, which consists primarily of forest imagery encased in a protective shell of glass, metaphorically preserves his vision of a transcendent world, yet reminds the viewer that we are ultimately separated from it. In a work from a later series, an image of his college-age daughter is captured in a thick pane of glass—perhaps reflecting his wish to keep her safe at home in his heart.
Kitty Timea Huffman will receive her bachelor’s degree in art in May 2010. Hungarian born, Huffman has lived in the United States for several years. She uses performance, video, installation, photography and sculpture to observe and comment on the deleterious effect that industrialization can have, not just on the environment, but also on the development of close relationships. Interested in the rich tradition of the hand-sewn object, Huffman employs the activity both literally and figuratively in the sculpture and installation pieces featured in this exhibit. The resulting works powerfully embody the concept of “a healing touch.”
Through a comprehensive understanding and dedication to their chosen media, each artist in “Saving the Sanctuary” is committed to sharing their personal interpretation of what stewardship can mean. Although not always true in the reverse, meaningful objects are always things of beauty, and their work shows that the first step to safeguarding what you love is to always hold it in your thoughts.
Gallery Talk with artists
The Freeport Art Museum welcomes Steve Feren and Nancy Mladenoff for a gallery talk at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 19, at the museum. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP is appreciated.
Julie Ganser received her MFA in painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has taught beginning and intermediate painting and currently works as director of Advising, Programs and Outreach for the Art Department. Her work has been exhibited in a number of group and solo shows throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and national venues.
Freeport Art Museum is at 121 N. Harlem Ave. and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (815) 235-9755.
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