Jean Dexter Sobon's exhibition reflects on the disconnect existing between our own species and the larger part of the natural world that sustains us. Each is a visual metaphor with a story, question or lesson. Some are based in history or myth. Others are Sobon's imaginative musings.
Jean Dexter Sobon
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Jean Dexter Sobon
Navigating the Night, 2015
Mixed media on wrapped canvas
24 x 30 inches
A Walk in the Woods and Mostly Milwaukee Mushrooms
April through June 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 13th, 2017 | 5 - 7 pm
Three local artists, who can be found exploring the natural areas of Riverside Park and the Urban Ecology Center, share their walks in the woods, observations, sightings and wild foraging.
Daniel Stauff and Bridget Wolf: A Walk in the Woods Illustrating years of painting and hiking along the Milwaukee River and its natural environs as well as the rest of Wisconsin.
Tonia Kountz: Mostly Milwaukee Mushrooms Coming from a family whose foraging included wild mushrooms, it seemed natural to want to draw them. Most of the mushrooms drawn were picked in Milwaukee, posed for their picture on the artist’s kitchen table and sometimes ended up as the evening meal.
Waves, Impressions, Traces
July through September 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 13th, 2017 | 5 - 7 pm
Sarah Eichhorn Allowing nature to take its course, Sarah’s handwoven shibori tapestries showcase organic patterns and textures that are reminiscent of ripples in a pond, clouds in the sky, or shadows at sunset. Each weaving is naturally dyed and connects us to familiar memories of the outdoors.
Laura Priebe Laura grew up with nearby woods and water that were alive with friends. Her sculpture and drawings fulfill a quest to protect the freedom within this land, within this water, for all life. Her artwork is a language constructing abstract sensualities and realistic representation of natural forms and elements, teaching love and respect for the needed assurances all living things on earth require. To this day, all life on earth depends on water. History of the Silurian period, when this area was completely covered in water, has added for her another adventure into the water critters living then, based on fossils.
Tula Erskine's Mushrooms
October through December 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 12th, 2017 | 5 - 7 pm
The Milwaukee artist Gertrude Kundman Erskine, known as Tula, was a long-time resident of the nearby Cambridge Woods neighborhood, a participant in the vegetarian potlucks at the Urban Ecology Center, and a friend of Else Ankel and Lorrie Otto. Tula’s connection to the Urban Ecology Center is documented here.
In this show we honor Tula the naturalist, the artist, the mycologist and citizen scientist, together – each skill enhanced by the others. Included will be more than forty exquisite mushroom illustrations meant for a never-published book to be called Mushrooms of North America. Tula’s tools for examining plants, other paintings, drawings, spore prints, rubbings, and slides will complete the exhibit. We hope to have a small book about Tula and the role of citizen science available for the show, as well as art prints of some of her mushroom illustrations, to support the Urban Ecology Center’s programs.
"Tula was an honorary curator in the Botany Department at the Milwaukee Public Museum. I knew her both as an excellent mycologist and for her love and knowledge of our native flora. I remember going in the field with her. With knife hanging at her side, corncob pipe smoking away, and collecting basket on her arm, we climbed the hills of the Kettle Moraine looking for mushrooms. It was on one of those forays that I found my first morel. Tula’s curiosity about nature and artistic talent along with her eccentricities made her a delightful person to be with."
- Neil T. Luebke
Reflecting Stories All Around Us
January through March 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 11th, 2018 | 5 - 7 pm
Pete Railand Born in Milwaukee, raised in the north woods of Wisconsin, Pete returned to Milwaukee. His artistic practice is based on the belief that the transformative power of personal expression in concert with collective action has great potential to transform society. He is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative. Justseeds is a decentralized community of artists who together create and sell prints, blog, build art installations, curate shows, publish books and portfolios, and contribute graphics to grassroots struggles for social and environmental justice, all while offering each other support as allies and friends. His practice begins in the world of traditional printmaking, often utilizing the relief printing medium to address environmental and social justice themes.
Leann Wooten Leann works with ceramic, glass, and an array of contemporary materials to create imagery and environments that make an impact. She worked with sixty neighborhood kids to create the large mosaic at the Urban Ecology Center Menomonee Valley branch. Leann has served as lead artist for many organizations including Arts @ Large, Artists Working in Education (AWE), and Redline. Formerly a painter, in love with texture, she began adding objects to my canvases. Now working in mosaic art, she does the reverse, sometimes adding a little paint to her mosaics. She works intuitively, so the process is never too preplanned. She builds dimension with a broad variety of materials, and many times a found object is the first thing that triggers the whole created process, exploring the world around her and recycling it into something new and unexpected.
Love of the Ancients
April through June 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 12th, 2018 | 5 - 7 pm
Geri Schrab The focus of her artwork is the study of petroglyphs and pictographs, images pecked, carved and painted on rock surfaces by the ancient indigenous people of North America. These original "rock art" images may not have been considered art at the time, but recordings of the stories, journeys, hunts and visions; in essence, the history of the original people. As those of us not indigenous have adopted this land, it is important to listen to this history and learn.
Geri’s creative process is to personally visit these ancient sacred sites, photograph or sketch on site; from these research materials she creates paintings in studio. Her paintings go directly from heart to brush to paper, with the rock art and nature as guides. It is her intention through this work to share her love of the ancients, the beauty of nature and this gentle healing energy with others. Geri will also be signing copies of her book Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest, co-authored with archaeologist Robert Boszhardt and published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.