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About the Exhibition

Contemporary works by 52 artists


February 12–April 24, 2022

MOWA | West Bend

The Wisconsin Artists Biennial began in 1900 as the Society of Wisconsin Artists with the mission to promote “the ennobling and educational influence of art.”

The exhibition aspires to showcase cutting-edge—even controversial—art emerging from Wisconsin. When members of the public requested a work be removed from the 1921 exhibition, they were rebuffed and told it was “essential to the life of the organization and integrity of their profession, to demand opportunity for free thought and action….” Outside experts traditionally jury the selection; during the 1930s, the celebrated Regionalist painters Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry were among the jurors.


In 2014 MOWA formed a partnership with Wisconsin Visual Artists (WVA) to co-organize and host the biennial, which draws over a thousand entries from more than three hundred artists across the state. The approximately fifty works chosen reveal the depth and diversity of contemporary American art viewed through the prism of Wisconsin.


The biennial awards $10,000 in cash prizes. The top honor, the MOWA Prize, consists of $5,000 and a solo exhibition to run concurrently with the next iteration of the biennial. The MOWA Prize is generously sponsored by Janel and Phil Maples.


To ensure an unbiased selection process, three jurors from outside of the state reviewed the more than 1,200 submissions, the largest number in the history of the biennial. A special thank you goes to jurors Dan Gunn, artist, writer, and adjunct assistant professor at the Art Institute of Chicago; Phyllis McGibbon, graphic artist and professor of art at Wellesley College in Massachusetts; and John Salminen, internationally renowned watercolor artist and educator.


Art in the time of Covid was always likely to be different. In this exhibition, featuring 54 works by 52 artists, many artists opted to address the situation visually while others felt that not engaging was the better choice. As ever, the range of media runs the gamut. Jennifer Bastian’s banner is a clarion call for compassion, while Rebecca Carlton’s collection of eggs reminds us that we are all in the same basket—in regard to climate change as well as Covid 19. Leif Larson’s colorful, humorous, and chaotic painting of his family may strike a familiar note of dealing with the pandemic, while Janet Roberts’s quiet, contemplative portrait encapsulates the internal stress suffered by many. Other artists offer us an escape: Luke Achterberg’s joyful, curvaceous sculpture, Beth Moran’s soothing beehive painting, and Christopher Wood’s dreamlike drawing deliver moments of respite.


2022 Biennial Awardees

Congratulations to the following 2022 Biennial awardees. Special thanks to the Award Sponsors: Janel and Phil Maples, WVA SE Chapter, WVA SC Chapter, and the WVA NE Chapter

Exhibiting Artists

Luke Achterberg (La Crosse)
Hector Acuna (Cedarburg)
Kelly M. Alexander (Belgium)
Danielle Attoe (Milwaukee)
Jennifer H. Bastian (Madison)
Anthony Baus (Racine)
Emily S. Belknap (Milwaukee)
Lois Bielefeld (Glendale)
Barry Roal Carlsen (Fish Creek)
Rebecca E. Carlton (Fish Creek)
Mauree Childress (Wauwatosa)
Sandra Cipollone (Milwaukee)
Craig Clifford (Appleton)
Amy A. Cropper (Waukesha)
Phyllis Deicher-Ladwig (Plymouth)
Patrick M. Doughman (Cedarburg)
Anthony Duvall Bozanich (Madison)
Scott Espeseth (Madison)
Aris Georgiades (Stoughton)
David Graham (De Pere)
Robert D. Jinkins (Rewey)
David Najib Kasir (Whitefish Bay)
Linda Kelen (Spring Green)
Helen R. Klebesadel (Madison)
Leif Larson (Oshkosh)
Fatima Laster (Milwaukee)
Matthew Ludak (Madison)
Christine B. Miller (Whitewater)
Lianne M. Milton (Madison)
Jose Morales (Milwaukee)
Bethann Moran-Handzlik (Fort Atkinson)
Susan L. Morrison (Stevens Point)
Marjorie M. Mau (Green Bay)
Brandon Nacke (Milwaukee)
Robert C. Osborne (Racine)
Melissa Paré (Milwaukee)
Nirmal Raja (Milwaukee)
Michelle Richeson (Neenah)
Janet Roberts (Brookfield)
Dane A. Schumacher (Green Bay)
Trina May Smith (Milwaukee)
Valaria Tatera (Milwaukee)
Robert P. Ulrich (Milwaukee)
Ariana Vaeth (Shorewood)
Shane Walsh (Milwaukee)
Michael Westcott (Milwaukee)
Charlie B. Wetzel (Madison)
John Whitney (Baileys Harbor)
Christopher T. Wood (Milwaukee)
Rina Yoon (Milwaukee)
Larry Zamba (Salem)


Support for this exhibition
generously provided by

James and Karen Hyde