Wisconsin Pastel Artists
January 17–April 13, 2014
Michele Murphy, Mirror Mirror, Pastel on sanded paper, 2013
The Wisconsin Pastel Artists' mission is to promote appreciation of the unique qualities of pastel as a medium, and to encourage and develop artists both artistically and professionally through workshops, exhibitions, meetings, and critiques.
Ray McInerny, Sr.
Recognized for their brilliant hues and spontaneous style, pastels consist of a dry or powdered pigment held together by a binder. Most pastel artists trace their roots to the French Impressionists. Traditionally, the art academies taught drawing as the preliminary framework for painting. However, the Impressionists and others in the late nineteenth century experimented with ways to artistically break with the established order. These artists flouted traditional rules of composition and sought to express immediacy in their work by depicting subjects in real-time action. The loose, organic style inherent to pastels facilitated their goals of capturing fleeting moments and conveying modernity. Drawing became the objective, not merely the tool. Édouard Manet, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt and, most notably, Edgar Degas helped advance pastels into a medium of its own.