Past Exhibitions 

Tom Bamberger: Hyperphotographic March 25–May 21, 2017
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For the first time in MOWA’s history, all three changing exhibition spaces will be dedicated to the work of a single artist—Tom Bamberger. Hyperphotographic is the artist’s first major retrospective and a celebration of his recent gift to the museum of almost four hundred photographs.

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Della Wells: A Spiritual Journey February 16–May 14, 2017
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Della Wells is known for her singular style of storytelling. Wells is bringing her tools—colorful collages, drawings, dolls, and quilts—to MOWA On The Lake, blending her own personal experiences with explorations of culture,

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Shakespeare’s in the Alley: A Tribute to Bob Dylan January 28–March 5, 2017
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MOWA’s installation of Shakespeare’s in the Alley pays tribute to American icon Bob Dylan. Door County artist Skye has created a text-based installation that honors his creative genius.

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Shane McAdams: The Accidental Landscape January 28–March 19, 2017
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Shane McAdams makes nontraditional landscapes that feature structures and forms using mundane industrial materials such as Elmer’s glue, resin, and ballpoint pens, McAdams explores the boundaries between the “natural” and the “artificial,” the “concrete” and the “abstract” as those ideas relate to the traditional notion of landscape painting. 

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Charles Thwaites: An American Journey January 28–March 12, 2017
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Charles Thwaites: An American Journey seeks to introduce a new audience to a rare twentieth-century artist who excelled at both realism and abstraction. In the 1930s and 1940s, Thwaites was one of the most recognized artists in America with his paintings exhibited in many of the most prestigious galleries and museums. He was the go-to artist in Wisconsin for official portraits and executed four post office murals under the auspices of the WPA in the 1930s. 

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The 2016 MOWA Members’ Show November 19, 2016–January 8, 2017
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MOWA annually opens the door to all members and asks them to show us what they’ve got—young or old, big or small, seasoned professionals or newly experimenting. The Members’ Show is about engaging with our valued supporters. It is about celebrating the great imagination that so many of our members possess. We welcome the opportunity to acknowledge and honor their talents and their creative spirit!

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Nature Studies: Lynne Railsback and Katie Musolff October 20, 2016–February 8, 2017
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Katie Musolff and Lynne Railsback are two watercolor painters who depict the natural world in delicate and intricate detail. This exhibition celebrates the organic world with precision and beauty. 

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Melissa Cooke: Egos October 1, 2016–January 8, 2017
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Melissa Cooke creates massive Photorealist portrait drawings by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. This process—which eschews the traditional pencil—results in mesmerizing images that seem to glow without the shine of heavy linear marks.

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David Lenz: People on the Periphery October 1, 2016–January 15, 2017
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David Lenz is one of America’s preeminent portrait painters. People on the Periphery is a major retrospective of his work, celebrating the painter’s passionate and intimate depictions of inner-city children, people with intellectual disabilities, and small-time rural farmers. 

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Wence and Sandra Martinez: Woven Together August 6–November 13, 2016
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Wence and Sandra Martinez, together for almost thirty years, successfully marry traditional textiles with modern design. MOWA will showcase a collection of Wence’s rugs alongside Sandra’s artwork in the State Gallery.

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Emily Arthur: Endangered July 21–October 12, 2016
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Tapping into her Native-American heritage and deep passion for the environment, Emily Arthur is one of the most exciting and progressive printmakers working in the US today. View Endangered, an exhibition of prints of birds, butterflies, maps, and charts that emphasize the inherent value of a healthy, vibrant ecosystem.

Please note this exhibition is located at Saint John's On The Lake in Milwaukee

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Art on Tap | Early Wisconsin Brewery Art and Advertising July 9–September 25, 2016
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Pabst. Schlitz. Miller. These brands are synonymous with Milwaukee where, until Prohibition, business was booming. Modern advertising was revolutionized during this time and brewers took advantage in order to convince a thirsty public that their brews were the best. This resulted in iconic images, elaborate signage, and unforgettable slogans that are still used today. 

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Leon Travanti: Reflections on the Silk Road April 14–July 13, 2016
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Leon Travanti has spent much of his adult life traveling the globe. Reflections on the Silk Road features paintings and works on paper inspired by four decades of travel to such places as China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Turkey. In addition, the exhibition will showcase some of the folk art, textiles, and costumes the artist collected during his wanderings. 

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Gregory Conniff | Watermarks April 9–June 19, 2016
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Responding to MOWA’s challenge to create a fresh body of work, Madison photographer Gregory Conniff has created Watermarks, an immersive visual meditation on a specific piece of nature in his home city. The 42 color photographs in this exhibition were taken over several seasons and mark a dramatic shift in approach and direction for Conniff that will enchant and entrance viewers. 

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Lois Bielefeld | On Faith April 9–June 26, 2016
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In early 2015, Bielefeld became MOWA’s first artist-in-residence in Luxembourg through a program sponsored by Ansay Development. On Faith will show a group of work created during her time abroad. A country steeped in the church, Lois’ photographs explore the relationship between parishioners, their church and how they practice their faith.

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Roadside Attractions April 9–July 24, 2016
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We travel from here to there and back again on a daily basis. Familiarity might not breed contempt, but it may render almost invisible the unique, interesting, or strange things that fly past our car windows. The roadside attractions of the 1940s and 1950s once drew travelers’ attention, but interstates and four-lane highways have sidelined these kitschy and eccentric expressions. Some inventive photographers have discovered ways to resurrect their impact. 

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Wisconsin Artists Biennial February 6–March 27, 2016
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The Wisconsin Visual Artists Biennial is a prestigious juried exhibition that attracts entries from artists throughout the state. MOWA is pleased to welcome the Wisconsin Artists Biennial, which is organized by the Wisconsin Visual Artists (WVA). The WVA is the oldest artist organization in Wisconsin. Originally founded in 1900, this collaborative has a long and respected history that began in Louis Mayer’s studio. The Biennial is a competitive exhibition open to artists statewide.

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Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council January 30–March 27, 2016
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The Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council celebrates their centenary with MOWA in 2016.  Dedicated to fostering and promoting excellence in fine crafts, a juried selection of WDCC members will showcase a variety of work in MOWA’s State Gallery. The WDCC works to elevate the standards of design and craftsmanship among Wisconsin’s artisans and the crafts community while encouraging individual expression, vitality and aesthetic growth opportunities

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An Awareness of Light Photographs by J.P. Atterberry January 21–April 6, 2016
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J. P. Atterberry’s eye for composition, in addition to his use of rich tones, produces some of the most beautiful and dramatic photographs ever taken. The platinum palladium process yields an immense range of values from the deepest, richest blacks to the lightest, smokiest grays that defy the label of ‘black and white’ photography.

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Lost In Space: Art Quilts by Bruce Seeds October 15, 2015–January 11, 2016
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Bruce Seeds is a contemporary quilt-maker. His kaleidoscopic quilts suggest nebulae and galaxies whirling out into the cosmos. His work will be shown at MOWA On The Lake at Saint John's On The Lake in Milwaukee.

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The 2015 MOWA Members' Show: An Art Odyssey November 21, 2015–January 10, 2016
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MOWA annually opens the door to all members and asks them to show us what they’ve got—young or old, big or small, seasoned professionals or newly experimenting. The Members’ Show is about engaging with our valued supporters. It is about celebrating the great imagination that so many of our members possess. We welcome the opportunity to acknowledge and honor their talents and their creative spirit!

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Out of Madison September 26, 2015–January 17, 2016
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Seven very different artists who all have one thing in common – they studied with Fred Stonehouse at UW-Madison will show off their work in the Horicon Bank Gallery, congruently with Fred Stonehouse: The Promise of Distant Things.
 

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Fred Stonehouse: The Promise of Distant Things September 26, 2015–January 17, 2016
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Fred Stonehouse’s paintings are instantly recognizable. Each caricature-cum-dreamscape is simultaneously maudlin, whimsical, shocking but distinctly Stonehouse-esque. 

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RedLine August 22–November 8, 2015
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RedLine is an urban laboratory located in downtown Milwaukee that supports the individual practice of contemporary art and fosters the creative potential of the local community. MOWA is delighted to feature these eight artists from RedLine Milwaukee.

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John Hitchcock: National Sanctuary August 22, 2015–January 29, 2016
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Acclaimed printmaker John Hitchcock will fill our Atrium with a massive installation featuring multiple screenprint images of pigeons, bees, bison, tanks, helicopters, and even a tornado.

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Pure Pigment: Pastels by Colette Odya Smith and Darron Lillian July 23–October 7, 2015
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Darron Lillian is a plein air artist with a keen eye for composition whose rough texture and loose strokes capture the immediacy of the moment. In contrast, Colette Odya Smith focuses instead on light filtering through trees and reflections on the water. Their work will be shown together at MOWA On The Lake at Saint John's On The Lake in Milwaukee.

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James and Karen Hyde Gifts June 13–August 9, 2015
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This special exhibition of studio glass celebrates some of the gifts the Hydes have contributed to the museum, and includes works by Patrick Casanova, Audrey Handler, Karen Naylor, Jeremy Popelka, Nolan Prohaska, and Stephanie Trenchard.

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Wilde’s Wildes: A Very Private Collection June 13–September 6, 2015
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“Personal” is the word that best describes the art of Surrealist painter John Wilde (1919– 2006). He enlisted his fertile imagination into interpreting and reflecting the world around him: an extensive body of paintings and drawings were the result. “Personal” is an even more apt description for the exhibition, which comprises only works of art that Wilde and his wife, Shirley, retained for themselves; most have not been shown publicly in decades, if at all.

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Nathaniel Stern: Giverny of the Midwest June 13–September 6, 2015
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Nathaniel Stern strapped a scanner to his body and immersed himself in a lily pond in South Bend, Indiana to create this series of performative prints. The resulting beautiful and unexpected images showcase a relationship between body, technology, and the natural landscape. Giverny premiered in Johannesburg, South Africa and has recently been shown in London, England. The MOWA exhibition marks the United States debut of the work.

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Pop Up MOWA: High | Low | Middle Friday, April 24, 2015
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MOWA is popping up in Milwaukee for a special one-night-only exhibition event! A fearless foursome of art explorers are traveling across Wisconsin in search of the center between high and low culture. Join them when they present their findings in a one-of-a-kind exhibition.
 

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The Pitch Project April 11–June 7, 2015
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The Pitch Project is the invention of artists Sonja Thomsen, Will Pergl, Jason Yi, and arts advocate/Milwaukee beer baron Mike Brenner. Designed as a studio space for local artists and a gallery that connects to the art world beyond the borders of our state, The Pitch Project is an incubator for contemporary art in Southeastern Wisconsin. A select group of Pitch Project artists have been invited to transform MOWA’s State Gallery with thought-provoking pieces that include everything from 3D installation to video

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There’s a Place: Photographs by J. Shimon & J. Lindemann April 11–June 7, 2015
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John Shimon and Julie Lindemann work together as the collaborative duo J. Shimon & J. Lindemann. Born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, they are best known for their photographs about human existence in the Midwest that they make using antiquarian photographic processes.

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Agrarian Angles: Landscapes by Richard W. Patt April 9–July 15, 2015
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Richard W. Patt’s polychromatic landscapes balance abstract and representational depictions of Wisconsin’s farmland and their iconic barns. These are not sleepy, pastoral farms, but ones that pop and vibrate with energy as Patt’s color and geometric patterning merge together to create rich quilt-like compositions.

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Cedarburg Artists Guild January 31–March 29, 2015
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The Cedarburg community has long maintained a vibrant art scene supported and sustained by accomplished artists with statewide and national reputations. MOWA is delighted to fulfill its mission to support statewide arts organizations by inaugurating the 2015 State Gallery season with an exhibition of works from more than 30 members of the Guild.

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Polka Heartland: Photographs by Dick Blau January 31–March 29, 2015
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Dick Blau’s photographs belie the stereotype of polka as “corny” and “dated” and instead show a vibrant, living glimpse into the everyday of the polka culture. Featuring 30 photographs that capture the energy of live polka performances, Polka Heartland: Photographs by Dick Blau is anything but documentary. Blau’s photographs reverberate with the same “loudness” and “sensuality” as his subjects.

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Close to Nature: Watercolors by Sara Strozinsky January 15–April 2, 2015
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Transparent color and soft focus imagery often come to mind when people think about watercolors. Sara Strozinsky’s watercolor nature paintings defy this stereotype. As a lover of the light, color, and patterns of the natural world, Sara’s vibrant, saturated-color paintings give almost every blade of grass individual attention, a precision and intimacy she leverages from her skilled brushwork and talent as a photographer.

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Given In Trust: New Gifts to MOWA November 21, 2014–March 22, 2015
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Since our new building opened in April 2013, MOWA has been the recipient of over 100 extraordinary works of art that are 
now part of our permanent collection. This exhibition recognizes the generosity of the patrons and donors committed to sharing Wisconsin art with a wider public. 

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The 2014 Super MOWA Members’ Show November 21, 2014–January 11, 2015
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MOWA annually opens the door to all members and asks them to show us what they’ve got—young or old, big or small, seasoned professionals or newly experimenting. The Members’ Show is about engaging with our valued supporters. It is about celebrating the great imagination that so many of our members possess. We welcome the opportunity to acknowledge and honor their talents and their creative spirit!

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Truman Lowe: Spiritual Migrations October 30, 2014–January 18, 2015
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A nationally recognized sculptor, Truman Lowe, a Ho-Chunk from Black River Falls, predominantly uses wood to craft elegant yet symbolic work. Within sight of the Milwaukee River, this installation of Truman Lowe’s canoe sculptures is perfect for MOWA’s Atrium.

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Cuentame un Cuento: Painted Stories by Francisco X. Mora October 16, 2014–January 7, 2015
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Francisco X. Mora creates paintings for the child in all of us. There is an emphasis on storytelling throughout his work. The paintings are playful and whimsical, yet simultaneously personal and self-reflective with an occasional note of melancholy. Francisco also draws inspiration from Mexico’s long folk art tradition of mask-making for ceremonial dances and rituals.

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Tom Loeser: It Could Have Been Kindling October 3, 2014–January 11, 2015
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Internationally recognized and a craftsman in a class of his own, Tom Loeser refuses to be constrained by the conventions of furniture making. Challenging notions of form and function, Tom initiates a subtle dialogue between the seemingly separate realms of furniture and sculpture. Spanning his 30-year career, this exhibition will demonstrate Tom’s talent for creating objects that are visually playful and imaginative as well as intellectually provocative.

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Gregory Klassen: Retrospective Aggregate September 2–October 26, 2014
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Gregory Klassen’s Retrospective Aggregate, took almost 8 years to complete. It reveals the progression of his exploration from sketchbook to discovery in the form of his studio carpet, testifying that sometimes the end result of the journey is unseen and unknown until the very end.

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Tyanna Buie: Still Lives August 8–November 2, 2014
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In this site-specific installation, Milwaukee artist Tyanna Buie employs a combination of screen printing, collage and ink-on-paper together with three-dimensional objects to convey her narrative of loss, impermanence, and unconventional family dynamics.

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Madison Art Guild: Centenary August 8–November 9, 2014
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Representing Dane County’s artists in a wide variety of media, the purpose of the Madison Art Guild is to share knowledge, provide artistic support and encouragement, offer educational experiences, and advance the appreciation of art through exhibitions and programs. The turns 100 in 2014! To celebrate this momentous milestone by one of the State’s oldest art organizations, MOWA has invited the Guild to exhibit in the museum’s State Gallery—a space dedicated to artist groups throughout Wisconsin. 

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Summer Dances, Monotypes by Jan Serr July 24–October 8, 2014
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Summer Dances explores the body in motion with expressive, gestural lines. This new group of prints by artist Jan Serr radiates color and celebratory movement that will have you tapping your toes.

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John Steuart Curry: At Home in Wisconsin June 27–September 14, 2014
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Although born in Kansas, famed Regionalist John Steuart Curry came to Madison in 1936 as the first artist-in-residence at any US university. He spent 10 very productive years in the city, welcomed by a state and a university that was progressive in both social policy and practice. This is the first-ever exhibition to focus on Curry’s years in Wisconsin and will reveal his love of Wisconsin, engagement with the academic and non-academic communities, and dedication to integrating art into the lives of ordinary citizens.

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COPA: The People in Your Neighborhood April 25–July 20, 2014
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Today in America, many of us are more familiar with our online world than our actual neighborhood. We spend endless hours on social media and interact with hundreds of people on virtual forums. We think of these as intimate relationships, but often they are separated by vast expanses of physical space. In this exhibition, we celebrate the uniqueness of place with photographs from members of the Coalition of Photographic Arts (CoPA).

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Carl Corey: For Love and Money April 25–July 27, 2014
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Hudson photographer Carl Corey knows Wisconsin. Equipped with his camera and an acute sensitivity to the world around him, For Love and Money “observes” Wisconsin businesses that have been in single-family control for over 50 years. A meditative study in the traditions of family, work and the persistence of skill, pride and endurance in the face of a rapidly-changing global economy, Corey’s images are at once humbling and hopeful.

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Fresh Impressions: Contemporary Wisconsin Printmakers April 17–July 16, 2014
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Following World War II, Wisconsin developed a national reputation for quality printmaking, more than 60 years later, printmaking is still going strong in the state. Fresh Impressions is a group show featuring many of the best printmakers from around Wisconsin and across the varied types of printmaking. 

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Handmade for Hard Times: The Milwaukee Handicraft Project March 28–June 15, 2014
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The Great Depression of the 1930s caused massive personal and economic devastation world-wide. In Wisconsin, despite many different government programs, countless people were unable to find work. The Milwaukee Handicraft Project (MHP) employed thousands of women, teaching them to make wooden and cloth toys, furniture, books, and more. It became a national model, boosting morale and giving its workers skills that they never knew they had.

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Beth Lipman: Precarious Possessions February 7–April 13, 2014
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Beth Lipman, one of the preeminent artists working in glass today, takes the idea of extreme consumption to its ultimate expression in her latest and most extravagant work to date, Sideboard with Blue China.

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Wisconsin Pastel Artists January 17–April 13, 2014
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MOWA welcomes the talent of the The Wisconsin Pastel Artists to the State Gallery for a group exhibition. These artists flout traditional rules of what pastels were in a traditional sense into something new.

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The 2013 Great and Wonderful MOWA Members' Show December 6, 2013–January 5, 2014
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MOWA annually opens the door to all members and asks them to show us what they’ve got—young or old, big or small, seasoned professionals or newly experimenting. The Members’ Show is about engaging with our valued supporters. It is about celebrating the great imagination that so many of our members possess. We welcome the opportunity to acknowledge and honor their talents and their creative spirit!

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Laurel Lueders: Rebellion of Systems December 6, 2013–January 26, 2014
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The Rebellion of Systems is a series of new photographs by Laurel Lueders that use the camera as its own means of abstraction. Lueders relies on the mechanism of the camera, exaggerating and manipulating its settings, to convey a sense of place without inherent structure or fixed narrative. 

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Waters and Woods: Amy Arntson and Brian McCormick January 16–April 9, 2013
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Amy Arntson and Brian McCormick create intimate scenes of the natural world. They may come from two different directions – one by land and one by sea, but their artwork has a similarity of focus. Both Amy and Brian’s watercolors employ shape, light, and pattern in order to pull the viewer into the contemplative and wistful imagery of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region and the Great Lakes.

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Tom Jones: I am an Indian First and an Artist Second September 6–December 1, 2013
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Madison-based artist Tom Jones is earning a national and international reputation for his powerful and insightful photographs. Jones’s work deals with issues of identity within the Ho-Chunk community. 

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Mark Mulhern: Pulling Back the Curtain September 1–December 1, 2013
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Pulling Back the Curtain is an exhibition that reveals the journey that art goes through from the germination of an idea to a finished work. Mark Mulhern, a Milwaukee painter, printer and draughtsman, believes that the early stages of a work are the most vital. 

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Edward S. Curtis and the Vanishing Race August 9, 2013–January 5, 2014
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Edward S. Curtis’s 20-volume compendium, The North American Indian is the most important photographic/ethnographic project ever undertaken in the United States. Curtis dedicated 30 years of his life to photographing Native American life in the northwest and southwest, becoming the foremost photographer of America’s indigenous people. Edward S. Curtis and the Vanishing Race is the first major exhibition of Curtis’s work in his home state in a decade. 

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Orchestrated Lines: Engravings and Paintings by Arthur Thrall July 26–October 7, 2013
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Arthur Thrall is a Milwaukee-based painter and a printmaker who transforms simple lines into graceful compositions of elegant curves and flowing shapes inspired by music and the art of calligraphy.

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Michael Velliquette: Into the Great Wide Awesome July 5–September 1, 2013
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Michael Velliquette's low-relief, cut constructions begin with hand-painted heavyweight watercolor paper. He paints the paper with a mix of inks and acrylic paints to achieve a richness of depth and color saturation. The individual paper elements are then hand-cut and glued in successive layers, creating a complex interaction of texture and dimensionality. 

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League of Milwaukee Artists June 28–September 1, 2013
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Since their founding in 1944, the League of Milwaukee Artists (LMA) has been an important presence within Southeastern Wisconsin, championing artistic creativity and dedicated to the promotion of personal artistic growth and the expansion of art awareness within the community.

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Tom Bamberger: OK Debuted April 2013–January 2014
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In this epic, three-screen narrative, Milwaukee photographer and curator, Tom Bamberger has lovingly assembled and sequenced over 6,000 silent images at just the right speed to induce memories of past events, people, and places.

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Terese Agnew: Portrait of a Textile Worker June 15, 2013–January 17, 2014
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Constructed from 30,000 clothing labels stitched together over the course of two years, Portrait of a Textile Worker makes it possible for us to put a human face on the challenges of global production and consumption and connect us to the lives of the people who make our clothes in a personal way.

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The Big Picture April 19–July 17, 2013
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The Big Picture proves ‘big’ isn’t just about size. Artists Dave Niec, Kathy Hofmann, and Vicki Reed are masters of creating grand images. Though smaller in scale, their art will pull you into sweeping landscapes, wide open skies and expansive environs that extend far past the frames in which they are hung.

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Antifragile: Contemporary Glass April 6–July 28, 2013
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This exhibition will shatter any preconceptions you might have had about glass and will make you think about glass in a new, fresh light while marveling at what masters of their medium can do. Antifragile will demonstrate that the studio glass movement is alive and well in Wisconsin.

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Reginald Baylor: Repetitive Patterns April 6–June 30, 2013
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Fresh, colorful, and complex could be three words used to describe the paintings that have secured Reginald Baylor a place as one of the most original and recognizable artists working in Wisconsin today. 

 

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Wisconsin Regional Artists Association April 6–June 23, 2013
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MOWA’s State Gallery showcases work by members of Wisconsin’s numerous art organizations. The first selection is the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association (WRAA) which was founded in 1954 to encourage non-professional artists who had participated regularly in the innovative Rural Art Shows of the 1940s held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Union. 

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