Museum of Wisconsin Art Presents Door County Artist Craig Blietz 

The Herd is on the Move to MOWA

September 10, 2018
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The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Craig Blietz: Herd, which features a new body of work of twenty-three large-scale paintings that depict the artist’s beloved cows. The exhibition will open with a party on Saturday, October 13 and will provide the opportunity to meet the artist.

Created specifically for MOWA’s white-cube gallery, Blietz’s heroic cow parade is the perfect marriage between barnyard chic and SoHo hip. Blietz places his impeccably drawn cows front and center, allowing them to float in a depthless background of muted agrarian symbols, such as sunflowers, corn stalks, and barns. The abstract designs of his cowhides read like boldly patterned canvases within canvases. The resulting scenes—part Barbizon School, part psychedelic, part Robert Motherwell—are a unique contribution to American art and deserve attention beyond the Midwest.

“My imagery is not about anywhere in particular, it is about everywhere in general, relating specifically to rural agriculture throughout the broader American landscape.” said artist Craig Blietz. “Whether viewing from a distance or working in the industry, the agrarian landscape forms the basis of our collective sense of Americana. My work stirs our associations with agrarian place through the use of sign, symbol, and graphic suggestion. Cattle, the leading emblem of agriculture, are given prominence in the work. Surrounding the cattle to provide support narrative are crop graphics, irrigation patterns, renderings of farm implements and architecture as well as agricultural land appropriation references. Abstracted forms, created through the use of tone, texture, and color, evoke memories and feelings that together attach meaning to place.”

Craig Blietz lives and works in Sister Bay, Door County, located in the state’s lush northeastern peninsula where farms are abundant and the spotted patterns of cows on hillsides are a ubiquitous sight. Local Door County farmers know the painter well and readily welcome him into their barnyards. Not only can Blietz effortlessly distinguish one animal from the next, but he can easily recite the names of his favorite models—Ginger, Lady, and Jerry, a Braham bull, among them. Much like cherished photographs of lost loved ones, more than a few paintings have lingered in his home after his muses passed on or went to petting zoos. Sentimentality aside, Blietz is far from a conventional animal or landscape painter. He is well aware of the long history of cow painters (both in the US and Europe), but he is unconcerned with precedent or art-historical dissertations when it comes to his own work.


On View: October 13–January 13, 2018
Museum of Wisconsin Art | Hyde Gallery
Free with Membership | Walk-ins Welcome

Saturday, October 13 | 2:00–5:00
Celebrate the opening of Craig Blietz: Herd and Corey Fells: 100 Womxn Project. Meet the artists and enjoy art making, live music, light bites, and a cash bar.
Free with Membership | Walk-ins Welcome

Saturday, November 3 | 2:00–3:00
Craig Blietz talks cattle, culture, and craft.
Free with Membership | Walk-ins Welcome

Saturday, December 1 | Anytime from 2:00–5:00
Come for the Champagne Shopping Party in the MOWA Shop and stay for casual conversations with Door County artist Craig Blietz.
Free with Membership | Walk-ins Welcome

Drawing Cattle with Craig Blietz
Saturday, December 8 | 10:30–3:00
Craig Blietz will teach you techniques that influence the construction of a convincing drawing.
Register Online | $80 with Membership
Jennifer Turner, Director of Communications and Marketing, 262.247.2266