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As our art exhibits enter their tenth year, Sally Duback, one of the founding members of our arts committee offers this reflection about the beginning and growth of the program.

Ten years ago, UEC board member Danni Gendelman convinced the board that it would be a good idea to host nature-related art exhibitions in the community room. In order to make this happen, she pulled together a small committee of Milwaukee area artists/arts professionals Barbara Manger, Sally Duback and Leon Travanti; and discussions began among them about how this could work.

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00

Art in the Menomonee Valley

SWAN Day MKE 2018: “Women and Nature: Nourishing Our Roots"
March - May 2018

Artists from all over Milwaukee celebrate the power and diversity of women’s creativity at SWAN Day MKE 2018 (Support Women Artists Now), an exhibition that is part of the International 11th Annual Support Women Artists Now Day!

This exhibit features over one-hundred women and woman-identified artists of ALL ages, ALL disciplines and ALL levels of artistic experience residing in Milwaukee and surrounding area that were invited to be part of an inclusive, informal, non-juried show.

The 2018 theme is “Women and Nature: Nourishing Our Roots.” For this unique show, artists were asked to think about the following prompts & make a piece that navigates one or all thoughts, practices places or concepts:

• Reflect on how and where the natural world plays a role in influencing your physical/emotional creative reserves, subject matter, concepts, visualizations,meditations or use of materials (ie eco-friendly/recycled/found object/organic matter/installation).

• What environments or elements provide a place of inspiration and/or perspiration so you are fueled physically, mentally and/or spiritually to make your best work?

• Does nourishment come from environmental activism and learning, or perhaps you find flow investigating the macro-level patterns in science?

• Do you connect with nature in the everyday/family traditions of cooking food, using healing herbal remedies and practicing your faith, or do you expand beyond this realm and wonder about the cosmos?

SWAN Day Predators digital collage by Laur Wiech Design

Laur Wiech Design
Predators Digital Collage


Kathleen Walter: Human <> Nature
June - August 2018

From the artist: My work is reflective of the synergistic connections I see between man and nature. I am interested in the ever-widening concentric circles of connectedness between all things on earth and beyond. My investigations have brought me to a realization of the commonality of many systems in nature and the manmade world and the similarity of mythologies and metaphors surrounding both realms. The maps that are part of much of my collage work have become the symbol for our human need to control and contain nature. (A theme that seems to have a louder voice in the present culture.) The messages that nature is sending into the universe are being silenced by ignorance and fear and threatening the existence of human life on earth. The intent of my work is to bring a moment of reflection to the fabric of nature of which humans are a part.

Water the Breath of Gaia.JPG vertical

Water the Breath of Gaia


Changing Our World Through Art: The Work of Escuela Verde's Youth Artivists
September – November 2018

In Escuela Verde's Art Club, we use our artistic skills and voices to work for change in our community. The work in this show speaks out about issues ranging from climate change and environmental racism to immigration reform and gender inequality.

IMG 9679

Escuela Verde's Art Club

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00

Art at Riverside Park

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.

April2018 Geri Schrab 2 EDIT
Geri Schrab

April2018 Geri Schrab 1 EDIT
Geri Schrab


Closer Encounters
July through September 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 12th, 2018 | 5 - 7 pm

Steven Yeo Steven has professional training in natural history and biology and has worked as an aquatic biologist for over 30 years. He holds a viewpoint similar to that expressed by naturalists such as Leopold, Muir and Thoreau - a more emotional, transcendent perspective. With constructive montage images from Wisconsin natural areas, parks, trails, urban greenways and restoration areas (and sometimes from a microscope), his work explores our cognitive and emotional connection to our existence as part of the natural world.

Julie Raasch Julie can often be seen toting her camera wherever she goes, always in search of the next photographic opportunity. Her images ask: Have you ever stopped to check out the colors of the lichens that grow on the tree next to your home? What do you see in a flower during a rain shower? She likes to play with light, and find the best perspective to see how light interacts with her subject - from above, below, or at eye level. Julie hopes we take a few minutes to look a little closer and see nature at its finest.

2018Yeo1Steven Yeo

2018Yeo2Steven Yeo

2018Raasch1

Julie Raasch

2018Raasch2

Julie Raasch


Stories of Symbiosis and Synchronicity
October through December 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 11th, 2018 | 5 - 7 pm

Melissa Courtney Melissa’s work is interdisciplinary in paint, print and textiles. She believes in connection: that as in nature, we all need each other to live. This series of abstract work is about pieces that need each other to “survive”, and feed off each other visually. She symbolizes things found in nature that are essential in symbiotic relationships; i.e., water, nests, roots and oxygen. Thick paint and short, deliberate brush strokes create a feeling of movement; in nature, something is always moving, evolving. Water rushing, wind blowing, life growing.

Marly Gisser Marly has always been drawn to old, patinated wooden surfaces, and finds materials in cast-off urban trash, recycled found items, and natural items such as pine needles, shells, stones, bark. The active searching for materials amidst discarded items aligns with the Urban Ecology Center’s tenet to recycle whenever possible. Putting these things together to create an assemblage often involves story-telling with the objects. This process of assembling seems one of synchronicity; where there is an intuitive feeling for what belongs together and what does not.

Kc Harrison Kc observes other living beings with open intentions, hoping to learn from them, imagining the many unique ways life is experienced. With the resourcefulness and craftiness of many animal species in mind, she mimics their gathering instinct and uses found and repurposed material, working intuitively, instinctively, and sustainably. Her drawings describe the process of making sculptural ‘stagings’ of stories in nature, asking the viewer to imagine from the beast’s point of view, to be receptive to new interpretations, and always to empathize with the subject.

October2018 1Melissa Courtney

October2018 3Kc Harrison

October2018 2 Marly Gisser


Everything is Energy and Interaction
January through March 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | 5 - 7 pm

Kelli Greentree Kelli loves the outdoors: a breath of air after rain, the warmth of the sun on her skin, the sounds of the forest, the taste of wild mulberries, the view of the sunset from up high, the sheer joy she experiences while riding her bicycle. And, she loves color: bright and cheery, dark and creepy, she loves it all, and enjoys putting colors together - to jump of the canvas and make it breathe. These inspirations drive her art, allowing her to share her vision of what surrounds us.

Susan Lukas Susan’s digital dreamscapes emphasize the energy that surrounds us in the natural world. Her art comes from a world in constant motion, where physics and the intangible meet. Her digital photo collages start as several photos or parts of photos, and she pulls from them to create one new dreamy image, that celebrates elementals and energy in nature.

January2019

Kelli Greentree

January2019 2

Susan Lukas


So Much Life through Photography
April through June 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 11th, 2019 | 5 - 7 pm

The long-standing Photo Club at the Urban Ecology Center is a talented and dedicated group of photographers. With this exhibit beginning during Earth Month, in the time of spring wildflowers, breeding herptiles and migrating birds, their photographs of the wildlife in our midst and throughout the year will inspire you. See through photographers’ eyes: native flora, winter ice, migrating birds, and more - and nature from travels afar, too. Maybe you will look more closely, enjoy the outdoors with new eyes and perspectives, celebrate all the life of the Urban Ecology Center, and maybe pick up a camera yourself.

April 5

Ian Dickmann

April 2019 Art

Diane Rychlinski

April 2019 Art

Jack Kleinman

April2018

Phyllis Bankier

April2018 4

Diana Duffey

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:00

The Intersection of Ecology and Art

“I realized I truly wanted to study ecology – a seed that was planted during my time at [the Urban Ecology Center] but took a few years to sprout.”

This is the opening line of an email from a former High School Outdoor Leader, Robby Friedlen, to Riverside Park Branch Manager, Jamie Ferschinger. He was eager to share the reason behind his decision to shift his research studies to “the intersection of ecology – through the lens of permaculture – and the arts.” As a High School Outdoor Leader in 2009, Robby spent a portion of his summer working with internationally known artist Roy Staab.

Monday, 29 June 2015 00:00

2015 Art in Menomonee Valley

Neighborhood and Nature: Inspired Art

Unfolding over the past several months, fourteen invited Plein Air artists painted outdoors in Three Bridges Park and at the Menomonee Valley Urban Ecology Center. Their works depict native plants and animals, the Menomonee River, activities at the Center and environs, and the neighborhood.

Join us as we host our first-ever art show in the Menomonee Valley! See the results of three seasons' worth of work on display at our Menomonee Valley branch now through December. And don't forget about our current show at Riverside Park!

Organized and led by artist Lynn Rix, participating artists include Tom Buchs, Audrey Dulmes, Kathleen Flaherty, Gail Franke, Barb Hayden, James Hempel, Sybil Klug, Carolyn Larkin, Les Lengwell, Gary Millard, Daniel Rizzi, Pam Ruschman, and Wendie Thompson. After the reception the exhibit will be on display at our Menomonee Valley branch through December.

UEC-MV-LynnRixPleinAirProject-2015 2 EDIT

What is "Plein Air" Painting?

The seasons each have unique inspirations: in Winter, the white snow and the clear blue sky produce a kaleidoscope of vibrant color; Spring and Summer with landscapes full of life and bloom; Autumn when oranges, reds and golds of the trees and golds vibrate against the cool blue sky.

Plein Air is a French term meaning "open air" and refers to the act of painting outdoors as opposed to the controlled conditions of a studio. Capturing what they see in natural light requires quick brush work and a limited palette, forcing an artist to work spontaneously. Paintings capture that particular moment in time; an impression of a beautiful effect of light. Paintings are usually worked on smaller canvases to be able to complete a painting in two to four hours capturing the sun before it moves on.

UEC-MV-LynnRixPleinAirProject-2015 painting EDIT
Painting by Lynn Rix

 

 

Friday, 26 June 2015 00:00

2014 Art at Riverside Park

The Urban Ecology Center is a neighborhood-based, not-for-profit environmental, community center that educates and inspires people to understand and value nature as motivation for positive change, neighborhood by neighborhood. Our quarterly Art Shows support this mission through locally produced, nature-related artwork.

All Opening Receptions are 5 - 7 pm, with artists speaking informally at 6.
Refreshments provided. Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee


Water and Light
January through March 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, January 16th, 5 - 7 pm

Abstraction and intimacy, water and light connect Kurt Kleman’s dramatic large-scale acrylic paintings (“shimmer” series) and Thea Kovac’s vibrant watercolors (“Floating Light” series). You might become mesmerized by our rivers and Lake Michigan all over again. In delightful and engaging counterpoint are bird carvings by Tom Petri.

Sara Daleiden, director of MKE <-> LAX will be on hand to host the event as well as moderate the question & answer session with the artists.

Kleman Kovak Petri

“18”, Shimmer series
Kurt Kleman
30”x60” acrylic painting

Floating Light series
Thea Kovac
Watercolor on paper

Black-capped Chickadee
Tom Petri


Visual Reflections: Printmaker Collective
April through June 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, April 10th, 5 - 7 pm

By invitation, twelve fine art printmakers were linked with twelve ecologists, to engage in a conversation that inspired visual representations of each ecologist’s story. Bench Press Events organized this exhibit for the World Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration to encourage further insight into the work of ecological restoration.

Buechler Garth

“Diversity in Small Parcels”
Heather Buechler
Letterpress on handmade paper

“Return, Take Over”
Katie Garth
Serigraph

Additional artists: Kim Hindman, Niki Johnson, Jay Wallace, Rhea Ewing, Yvette M. Pino, Douglas Bosely, Laura Grossett, Tyler Green, Jonas Angelet, Kris Broderick


Intimate Nature
July through September 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, July 10th, 5 - 7 pm

Two artists pay close attention to nature’s details. Kristin Gjerdset sees the world underfoot - often overlooked, yet as deserving of reverence as grand scenery. Hers is the world of tiny shrubs and flowers, visited by winged beings and fur-bearing creatures. Jamie Bilgo Buchman notices the natural world in our everyday lives and asks questions: where do things come from? How do they work? What does this mean?

Gjerset Bruchman

“Horicon Marsh: A Day”
Kristin Gjerdset

“Veining”
Jamie Bilgo Bruchman
Mixed media on wood


The Mysterious, Magical World of Nature at Night
October through December 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, October 9th, 5 - 7 pm

Timothy Haglund is primarily a plein air painter. He works in nature, at night, a time that is unique and not always experienced by outdoor enthusiasts. Nature at night is a magical, mysterious time where one’s awareness of their surroundings is heightened, and one’s presence in the landscape feels noticeably alone. It is a time to come to know the land one exists within. The time, the mood, that stillness is alive in the subtleties of these painted night-scapes.

 Haglund

“Bats Over the River”
Timothy Haglund
Oil on gessoed birch plywood


Being / Seeing
January through March 2015
Opening Reception Thursday, Jan 8th 2015, 5-7 pm

A continuing quest into being and seeing. Joyce Winter describes her paintings as a dance on paper using color, texture and space - a process that seems to connect memory and sensory impressions of our relationships with nature. Michael Kutzer paints one place, Seminary Woods, in its many moods. He is interested in how the working of your eyes, and your ability to focus at multiple distances, affects how and what you see in nature.

 Winter  Kutzer

“This is Our Heritage”
Joyce Winter
Acrylic-prisma pencil on watercolor paper, 40”x32”

“Target 36: Forest’s Heart”
Michael Kutzer
Acrylic, 20”x20”

Friday, 26 June 2015 00:00

2015 Art at Riverside Park

The Urban Ecology Center is a neighborhood-based, not-for-profit environmental, community center that educates and inspires people to understand and value nature as motivation for positive change, neighborhood by neighborhood. Our quarterly Art Shows support this mission through locally produced, nature-related artwork.

New this year is our first-ever art show at our Menomonee Valley branch!

All Opening Receptions are 5 - 7 pm, with artists speaking informally at 6.
Refreshments provided. Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee

The Urban Ecology Center typically issues an annual Call for Artists in the fall of each year, to choose artists for up to six quarters ahead. Watch this page for information.

Artworks are often available for purchase. The artist contributes a portion of the sales price to the Urban Ecology Center. If you would like to purchase an artwork, please speak to Riverside Park branch manager Jamie Ferschinger or another Urban Ecology Center staff member.


Being / Seeing
January through March 2015
Opening Reception Wednesday, February 11th 2015, 4:30-7 pm

Joyce Winter describes her paintings as a dance on paper using color, texture and space - a process that seems to connect memory and sensory impressions of our relationships with nature.

With a collection entitled aRound the Deer Creek, Michael Kutzer shows one place, Seminary Woods, in its many moods. The compositions’ round shape, circles and center are inspired by old painted targets, but their meaning has become more spiritual.

Winter

“This is Our Heritage”
Joyce Winter
Acrylic-prisma pencil on watercolor paper, 40”x32”

Kutzer

“Target 36: Forest’s Heart”
Michael Kutzer
Acrylic, 20”x20”


Sacred Places
April through June 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, April 9th, 5 - 7 pm

Kevin Muente's paintings make the viewer understand that we need to protect as many wild places as possible no matter how big or small. At times the window of the canvas frames and perhaps allows places that are in our own communities to rival images of the greatest national parks.

kevin muente resize


Ghost Garden
July through September 2015
Opening Reception Thursday, July 9th, 5 - 7 pm

Ghost Garden is a collection of memories in the form of botanical prints. Plants gathered from Vicki Reed's gardens, and from outings with her elderly patients, were used to create lumen prints - a historical technique of placing leaves and blossoms on photographic paper to produce ghost images of the original plants.

vicki reed


The Nature of Prints
October through December 2015
Opening Reception Thursday, October 8th, 5 - 7 pm

Sally Duback: In making paper from rags, re-using natural materials that have been discarded, Duback’s finished works carry a deep level of meaning.

Barbara Manger: A river’s pulse and energy, secrets and constant change,lead Manger to explore and convey tangles, apparent disorder,and the river wending its own path of necessity.

sally duback

Sally Duback
Specimens on Green
Monoprint / handmade paper, 24x38"

 

barbara manger

River's Path
Monotype, ink, woodblock, linoleum block, 38x50"


Forest Floor
(A special sculpture exhibit)

Shannon Molter: Take a closer look above and below at the unsung forest understory. Sculptures will usher visitors into the Center, growing along the floor of the entrance alcoves and hanging overhead in the main hall. Molter's fibrous representations of the forest floor aim to create a palpably mysterious, spiritual representation of this rich and misunderstood ecosystem, which begs its viewer to spend time finding beauty in the spaces under foot. Woven from discarded leather scraps cut into leaf litter, sculpted into tree stumps, roots and fallen branches.

shannon molter

Shannon Molter
Detail: Forest Floor


Wood and Stone
January through March 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 14th, 2016, 5-7 pm

Cynthia Brinich-Langlois: The lithographic prints tell a story that begins on the tundra, with the drying up of rivers and ponds, but the series expands to include diverse habitats, and the land itself begins to disintegrate. The work depicts a journey through changing environments, with surreal geographies suggesting an unsettled future.

Ken Vonderberg: The inspiration for creating artwork with the wood burning process or “pyrography” was the notion that wood, as a raw natural material, could be transformed into images through the use of heat, an elemental force, employed in the artist’s vision.

cynthia brinich langlois

Cynthia Brinich-Langlois
Underworld
Lithograph and hot stamping foil on gray Pescia, 11 x 30 inches, 2014

 

ken vonderberg

Ken Vonderberg
Blue Ridge
Pyrography & acrylic wash on birch cradled panel 14 x 18, 2014

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 00:00

When You Give a Kid a Camera...

Last year, while brainstorming ideas for summer camps, I suggested a photography camp for middle school aged campers. This summer was the first year, to my knowledge, that we offered a photography camp, and I was lucky enough to lead it.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00

Inventive EcoArtists

Summer camp at the Urban Ecology Center is awesome for me as an educator. It’s laid back and having the same campers for four days means we have the opportunity to focus on activities they are interested in and help them gain a more in-depth knowledge of the environments just outside the Center’s doors.

Friday, 08 August 2014 00:00

Damsels and Dragons and Drawing

I have often seen many Odonata species without taking the time to look closely. Today I did however (actually, I was not familiar with the word Odonata until a couple months ago when I took a workshop. They are the damselflies and dragonflies). With an ecologist and experienced naturalists at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I walked along for a survey of these long bodied flyers.

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