Location: MOWA | DTN
located inside Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel in downtown Milwaukee
Raised the son of a Mexican-American migrant
worker and a mother who fled the suburbs for a life of farming, Rafael
Francisco Salas grew up in the fields and forests surrounding his family farm
in rural Wisconsin. Leaving home to become an artist, Salas spent 15 years in
New York City, London and the American Southwest, returning to Wisconsin with a
painterly appreciation for the splendors of landscape.
Salas’ paintings are reflections on rural life
and the traditions of landscape painting. They express the poetry of the
American countryside, but do not ignore its conflicts. Salas contemplates the
original sin of Manifest Destiny and settlement, imprinted forever on the soil
itself. Bleak, atmospheric canvases also give expression to the challenges of
contemporary agriculture beset by climate change, corporate farming and
political resentment. Simultaneously, the paintings communicate an interiority,
an amalgam of feeling that emerges from the artist’s psyche.
In Flowered Fields is a collaboration with the
artist and the permanent collection of MOWA. Salas has curated rarely seen
works from the collection and paired them with his own artwork to create a
dialogue that includes a milieu of Wisconsin artists present and past.
The installation at MOWA|DTN enhances the
experience of the paintings. Subdued lighting, raw sheep’s wool, tractor tires,
and an accompanying playlist engage viewers’ senses in an immersive experience
that will linger long after leaving the gallery.
Rafael Francisco Salas is an artist and Professor
of Art at Ripon College.
Into the MOWA Vault | Virtual Artist Talk
Thursday, January 28 | 7:00
Join artist Rafael Francisco Salas as he shows rarely-seen works from MOWA’s permanent collection and talks about the tradition of Wisconsin landscape painting and his new exhibition In Flowered Fields
. Join us on Facebook
for the premiere with a live Q&A to follow.