Exhibition: "Masters As Muses"
Last weekend my good friend Liz and I drove down to Cedarburg for the last day of an exhibition at the Cedarburg Art Museum (and to check out their coffee scene). The exhibition was entitled "Masters as Muses". Each artist featured in the exhibition chose a master artist to use as inspiration for their pieces.
In 2015, I completed my undergraduate degree from Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I graduated with a double major in fine arts and China studies. While at WLC I took many different art courses taught by a variety of different professors. The reason I was so interested in visiting this exhibition is because two of my professors from WLC have works featured in this exhibition, Kristin Gjerdset and Paul Burmeister. While at WLC I took 2-D design, graphic arts, and illustration courses from Professor Burmeister. I also took drawing, watercolor painting, non-western art history, animal anatomy and many other courses taught by professor Gjerdset. It was actually through Gjerdset's course on watercolor painting that I used watercolors for the first time and became fond of the medium, and later on chose to pursue a graduate degree in watercolor painting (I am in my second year of studies). When I heard that both my previous professors were exhibiting works in this exhibition I was very excited to visit and see their works which you will find below.
First, I would like to share with you which painting won "Best of Show". The Muse for this painting was Kehinde Wiley. I remember learning about Wiley's paintings from an art history course I took and also from The Milwaukee Art Museum. I also remember being amazed at how huge his paintings were and by the bright colors, patterns, and realism in which he uses to paint. Below is Ana Gadish-Linares painting in which she uses those bright floral patterns in her background and herself as the main subject in this portrait. She writes, "Victorian Outlaw 2020 depicts a woman (me) armed with a roll of voting stickers and a medical face mask in the seemingly lawless dystopia of 2020 America. The style and composition of this piece is inspired by the work of Kehinde Wiley, an artist I've admired for his Black or Brown bodies in classical European-style compositions. With this piece I am daring to represent myself, an unassuming petite Cuban-American introvert, in the same classical aesthetic that demands as much respect and reverence as a portrait of a European noble".
Next, I would like to share with you Kristen Gjerset's painting inspired by Kandinsky entitled, "Kandinsky Monarchs". I really enjoy the way she replaced the forms in Kandinsky's painting with various insects, and I especially love the monarch in the center of the painting. The way she portrays and depicts the different stages in the development of a monarch butterfly is creative and your eyes wander all over the painting soaking up the different stages of life.
Paul Burmeister uses Jim Nutt's "Moat" portrait as his inspiration for his own piece entitled, "American Self Portrait". I thoroughly enjoy the use of Burmeister's color and the likeliness it has to Nutt's portrait. Burmeister writes, "I've had this postcard from a Milwaukee Art Museum show pinned to my board for a long time. And it's been a very long time since I did a self-portrait. The two images came together this summer as a way of dealing with ongoing personal effects of the pandemic disruption. I like Nutt's simplification of high contrast areas and his liberties with likeness. His color palette pushed my choices about an overall color quality. Nutt's version of Chicago imagism direct my portrait into a different, more historically American place".
Below, Dee Roembke's muse was Georgia O'Keeffe and she takes inspiration from her painting "Summer Days". In my honest opinion, when I saw Roembke's painting I actually liked it more than the original piece! Roembke's composition and use of color are impeccable and intriguing.
This was one both Liz and I enjoyed quite a lot for its creativeness in depicting the scene in a unique way. The artist, Judith Murphy paints a modern day pharmacy to resemble that of Edward Hoppers drug store. I love what Murphy writes about when it comes to how the covid-19 pandemic has been effecting our current times and people. She writes, "I am a reverent student of Edward Hopper. His painting draw me to his imagery of isolation and solitude. Hopper's "Drug Store" hit a note of our current times with me. During this pandemic, my family is often going to the pharmacy. A nocturnal painting during a rain exemplifies the feeling of desperate times some of us are experiencing during the covid-19 pandemic. One car in the parking lot might signify a desperate person inside trying to help their family. The reflections of light from the undisturbed puddles adds to the loneliness of this time".
In my last article, I chose to write about one of Gustav Klimt's most well-know paintings, the "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" or also known as "The Woman in Gold". You can find the like here: obsessed-with-the-woman-in-gold.html to know more about this exact painting and some fun podcasts, movies, and books about it.
When I saw this painting, it made me chuckle a little because I had just posted an article about Klimt's works the day before. Since last year, I have become obsessed with Klimt's works and this one was also one of my favorites from the exhibition. Norhan Chamo writes, "An artist who inspires me is Gustav Klimt. His art is called "chaotic" by other great artists, and the chaos in his art is the particular thing that I love. His drive and passion kept him going because he saw what others did not see. Through Gustav Klimt's work, I have realized that art can be interpreted in so many different ways, and that is where its beauty lies. I am thankful for Gustav Klimt for inspiring me to keep painting and creating because the goal of art is not to be understood, but to open new ways of thinking and to inspire".
Although there were many other fantastic paintings, I chose to end with the following piece below. Out of all the pieces this one made me laugh the most and I thought is quite creative. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Overall, I would say that this exhibition was delightful and creative. In the art world, we all have our "muses" and artists we look up to and admire and I enjoyed seeing each painting and the muse of each artist and where they got their inspiration from. It was also delightful being able to see the work of my old professors and discovering new artists and their artwork. I hope you were able to enjoy some of the pieces in this exhibition.
With that I leave you with these inspiring words by Norhan Chamo. She writes, "Through Gustav Klimt's work, I have realized that art can be interpreted in so many different ways, and that is where its beauty lies. I am thankful for Gustav Klimt for inspiring me to keep painting and creating because the goal of art is not to be understood, but to open new ways of thinking and to inspire". I hope her words can inspire you to keep painting or creating! They sure have inspired me and so did this exhibition.
Until next time,
Artist: Gustav Klimt