WLIW Arts Beat - September 6, 2021
In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a biennial exhibition that provides artists with a space to present their perspectives to the public; continuing to create art and inspire others during the Covid-19 pandemic; transforming leather into unique masks; an impressionist artist's colorful canvases.
- In this edition of" WLIW Arts Beat".
A noteworthy Biennial exhibition.
- [Man] You'll see literally on all manner of media.
You will see traditional photography, video,
- [Diane] Art in the time of quarantine.
- It's in the silence.
And it's within that time to meditate that you actually
become more creative.
- [Diane] One of a kind leather masks.
- I have people who wear them,
people who hang them on the walls,
and then people who do both,
we'll just leave them on the wall
until they have a masquerade event to go to.
- [Diane] A self-taught impressionist artist.
- It's the feel that you get.
It could feel all about your feelings.
You got to feel it from your soul
and from your heart and your mind.
- [Diane] It's all ahead on this edition of WLIW Arts Beat,
Funding for WLIW Art Beat was made possible
by viewers like you.
Welcome to WLIW Arts Beats, I'm Diane Masciale.
The artist Biennial at the Museum of Wisconsin Art
has an array of artworks from painting to sculpture,
photography to video.
The exhibition provides participating artists
with the opportunity to present their perspectives
and their creations to the public.
Take a look.
- Museum of Wisconsin Art is an institution
that's been around since 1961
and our focus is 100% on the arts and artists of Wisconsin,
not only historically,
but also the case here with the Biennial,
very much with the contemporary artists of Wisconsin.
2020 is the fourth year that we have done the Biennial
in our new building.
We are the permanent host.
So as a collaboration between us
and Wisconsin visual artists to do this every two years.
When the jurors select the artwork, which they do digitally,
they came in with 42 works by 39 artists.
You'll see literally on all manner of media.
You will see traditional photography, video,
[gentle music] conceptual work.
you'll see two dimensional,
you will see sculpture.
But what was interesting this year
is out of the 39 artists that were selected
19 of them were actually first time being accepted
into the Biennial, which I think speaks volumes
for what an attractive exhibition it is.
The way the gallery is laid out
is that they are all constantly gonna be surprises.
That's really what artists are bringing to the table,
is they're bringing their different perspectives
on the world on issues within their own lives,
issues nationally, issues was even internationally.
So just because there's a Wisconsin Biennial,
the parameters of the show go far beyond the state.
The first place prize was Nina GoniBarshaday,
she's originally from Iran.
She works very much with the pen, is most black and white,
and they're very subtle work.
So, you've really got to get close to them.
And they're about current political issues.
Zhao Zhang who is from China, her work,
the three road pieces, they're about water.
And you know, that's a global issue.
I really enjoy Marther Cautis' photographs.
I mean they are just very subtle, beautifully composed.
And she's an artist we've watched for several years.
One of the great things about the Biennial
is you get introduced to younger artists
or artists that you're not familiar with
and you can kind of follow their work.
So you can see on the how an artist our work develops
over the years.
- The previous winner of the last Biennial
gets a solo exhibition.
It's an opportunity to elaborate on the work
that they had done that placed them at the Vanguard
of art in Wisconsin.
So this year, we have Mark Klassen,
who is the 2018 top prize winner of the Biennial.
He won with a piece called air conditioner
which is also in his solo exhibition.
Exhibition is entitled "Combustible Dust".
- The title of "Combustible Dust"
that everything around us is the potential of harming us
in some way as these sort of subtle anxieties
that we have about our environment or our world.
- Mark Klassen primarily works with sculpture.
And many, if you encountered them on a day-to-day basis,
you might overlook them.
They're a sort of interesting update
of the Trump Lloyd tradition, meaningful VI,
which has traditionally been associated with painters.
What's unique about Mark's take on this
is that he's doing it with sculpture.
So he has a virtuosic command of wood
that allows him to fool us into thinking that
this is actually an air conditioner.
This is actually a foam finger.
- The nature of making art
and making these objects out of wood,
you are studying these objects
and you're applying some craft and attention to figure out
how to deconstruct a commercially made object
and then recreate that object in wood.
I think they look a bit like flip bar,
because they don't have that kind of
find the tin of a real object.
They look like an oversimplified version of that
of whatever that object is that I'm creating out of wood.
It's a really great opportunity to exhibit in this kind
of capacity for an artist, particularly because it's only
in a solo exhibition where you get kind of the breadth
of somebody's work.
- I think that people will enjoy the occasional challenge
in trying to interpret what mark was going for
and how it relates to the overall themematics
of the exhibition.
- I'm proud of the diversity of works of arts backgrounds
of the media that they're working with of the themes
of that relationship to art history.
It's a really rich cross section of what's happening
in the state.
- People are appreciative that there is a museum.
If its main focus is to care about what they actually do
and what they produce here in the state of Wisconsin
- [Diane] To learn more, visit Wisconsin art.org.
And now the artists quote of the week
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the spirit and strength
of many arts communities has failed to diminish.
In this segment, we head to Reno Nevada,
to find out how artists continue to create
and inspire in these difficult times.
- I am a professional artist and I'm quarantining at home.
And my home is full of paintings because,
they are things I have scheduled or canceled.
- There's something so valuable
about having the live space, the face-to-face interaction
the kinesthetic empathy, that's really important.
And I really miss all of these places, any Reno like echo
also and the loft and flex movement lab,
where we can dance together and create together.
And I think people really need that and miss that.
- It's in the silence
and it's within that time to meditate
that you actually become more creative.
So I've had a lot more ideas over the past two months.
I've written a lot more
than my passion to actually create something
has definitely grown over the short amount of time
that we've been forced to be alone.
- Art is really a historic trail of all
of the stories that are going to be told about this time.
I mean, art comes out
of situations like this tragedies and hard times.
And I believe that the arts will tell a story
of what is happening right now for people in the future.
- I have seen lots
of artists respond to this in different ways.
I have seen artists hold raffles
or sell art to fundraise for relief funds
and give back to those in need in the community.
I think through sharing their arts artists are
helping connect and uplift.
For example, the Drakulich foundation
for freedom of expression has turned
from making paper out of old military uniforms.
And they've hired veterans to make masks.
Some from those recycled military uniforms.
- We have produced over 1700 masks so far and
are excited to say that many
of those have been donated to underserved communities.
We also make orders for businesses to help them get back
to work, is really special to take the military uniforms
and use them to protect citizens.
And this is what they look like.
And they're very handsome and well-made, as you can see
they're easy, they're comfortable, they're light.
You can find them as tight
as you want or hang them like though for errands.
And then they just look right down over your ears
and you can go back to business till you need it again.
And it is wonderful for veterans
and myself to remain engaged and productive
during this difficult time of social distancing
and helps us to keep our art resources alive and well.
So they're ready when we can get back
to making art as a community again.
- COVID-19 is a way for dancers to create something
in their own home with a roommate, a pet,
you don't even have to be a dancer just movement
and then create something, send it in
via a smartphone and release one dance every 19 days.
And of course, the quarantines lasted longer
than the 14 days, but it was just really
awesome to see where people came up with.
People were dancing with inanimate objects.
Tweety bird had a moment, there were contact
There was dancing with themselves or walls or floors
and it was just enlight.
It was just really lovely to see what people came up with
and how they tied oftentimes what they were dancing with
or too with what they were going through and how
they were dealing with the quarantine and everything
that's going on right now, which is highly volatile
and extremely changing and inconsistent.
And there's a lot of gray area,
None of us really know what's going on.
- During this time quarantining,
I've just really been, I guess, more creative
I think working on new projects.
Me and my family, we had the opportunity to go
up the role in Milton elementary school
and paint a mural for all the kids in school.
A lot of the kids probably haven't seen it yet
but hopefully it's something that really brightens their day
and gives them a smile when we're finally
able to go back to school.
- Okay. So since some of my art shows were canceled
I decided to sell my artwork online in an auction format
and all of that money is going to local charities.
- Something else that I've done
since we've been quarantined is make a coloring book
about the quarantines it is the animal ponds
and color your own postcard sets.
And these whales say, well
it looks like we'll be together for a while.
That was one of the puns.
- I think something that I've really learned
during this period of time is how capable I am.
Film is something that takes an army to create.
And I think that when you're forced to create something
on your own or you want to create something
and you only have your roommate there
you become more creative
in how you're going to go about making that happen.
So I think that it's definitely been encouraging
for myself to be like, oh, look
you actually know how to do all
of these elements and you can do them pretty well.
And that shouldn't restrict you in the future
to create something, if you've only got one or two people.
- Art is a connector
whether it connects people
to each other or makes us feel less alone.
When we see something or read something
or listen to something that speaks to us
it's an expression of the human experience
and interpretation of the world around us.
We need that connection now.
Public art has always served this purpose
and it's still accessible during this time
unlike dallies and museums, which are closed
there's still access to our public spaces.
So the public art collection is available
to anyone at any time.
It serves to create a sense
of place and community to connect, inspire, and transform.
- This quarantine period in this period
of isolation has definitely shown people the importance
of art, because we are now forced to get down to the core
of who we are because we're lonely with ourselves.
- It brings out the creative side
that when you're stuck in home, it's something you can do.
You can always pull out pencils
and pens and markers and paint and create them.
And so it just gives you an outlet to always
be able to create.
- But you need art in every form.
People express themselves through dance, through drawing
and making pictures and telling stories.
And art is the one thing that is going
to bring us all together.
- We are resilient and creative, all of us
and it's been super inspiring and wonderful to
see how people are figuring out new ways to connect.
Often through arts, the arts will be a large part
of rebuilding and finding our new normal as we move forward.
- [Diane] Now here's a look at this month Arts Fun Fact
Up next, we traveled to key Largo
Florida to meet artists, Caroline Guyer
who makes eye catching leather masks, inspired by animals.
Guyer transforms leather
into wearable art that features rabbits, dogs, goats
and more here's her story.
- My name is Caroline Guyer
and I'm a leather worker who specializes
in making theatrical costume leather masks.
And I live in beautiful key Largo
Florida in the Florida keys.
It was clear from the beginning
that whatever kind of a creative artistic aesthetic is
in my head translates well into a leather mask.
I love studying the animal faces.
You know, I like looking at animals, so I'm happy to
to study them and see if I can make a mask.
And at the same time
that is what people seem to want more and more of.
I'll never forget a customer asking me to do a rabbit
and yeah, struggling with it at first
trying to figure out how to do these animal faces.
And I did the rabbit and people loved it.
There seems to be like a creepy rabbit mask thing.
That's almost like a modern archetypal
collective unconscious kind
of thing where people really respond
to creepy white rabbit masks over and over again
regardless of what movie they've been in
they're in movies again and again and again.
So I find that is something that kind
of persists year after year.
And then of course, wolves are always popular
and then I'll have people that'll be like,
"Oh, can you do one of my dogs?"
I have people who wear them.
People who hang them on the walls.
And then people who do both, we'll just leave them
on the wall until they have a masquerade event to go to.
But I certainly sell
to people who are only going to wear them
and people who are only going to hang them on the wall.
I create the masks entirely by hand.
If I have an idea of a mask that I want to make
and I don't have a pattern yet for it.
And over 20 years, I've got 100s of patterns.
I'll research the design and create a pattern.
And then I trace that onto the piece of leather
cut it out with a blade.
And then I wet that piece of leather, blot it dry.
And then I wait until the leather gets to just
the right point for it to be molded.
And that varies from piece of leather to piece of leather.
And also depending on the humidity in the air,
stuff like that.
When the leather is at the right point to be molded
I sit there and I mold it all by hand.
And then I set that on the floor
or on a towel or something, let it dry overnight.
Most mask, I'll do an airbrush base.
So I go outside and I airbrush the base on.
And then after that's dry, I bump it up a little bit
and I add some detail, hand painting with acrylic paints.
And then when that's dry, I brush on an acrylic sealer.
And when that's dry, I sat in the back.
So it's comfortable.
I add some felt padding, if that's needed.
Some mass need it, some don't.
And then I'll put on ribbon ties or so
on elastic straps, and then it's ready to go.
I work very hard to make them comfortable.
And that is one of the hallmarks in my masks.
And that is why a lot of the groups, theater groups
dance companies come back again and again for my mask
because you can put them on
and almost forgot about them, is my goal.
Anyway, and that is one of the nice things
about the leather is they tend to just
read a little bit more than a synthetic mask.
I could just make goat masks all day long.
And I have a dream project that I need to do eventually
where I want to do all the different breeds of goats
'cause there's so many different kinds of goats
and I would love to do a beautiful mask
representational of each one.
People who buy masks seem to enjoy goat masks,
and it's always fun to do something like a leopard
or a mountain lion.
If it comes out good, that's the kind of mask
where I'm like, "Ooh, look what I made."
That's kind of pretty just like the animal is.
- [Diane] To see more of Guyer's masks,
And here's a look at this week's Art's History
Eddie Mormon started painting at a very young age.
Since then, he has created a multitude of impressionist
works rich with color movement and feelings.
We head to Louisiana to hear
from the Artist and learn more about his art.
- I learned how to paint from the dirt
down here on the ground
When I was five years old, in the vines,
in the weeds, in the mud, in the clay,
I would take flowers and mix water with it
and get all the juice out of it
and it turned to color,
put in a little bottle.
When the clay were here with that red and then clay,
it gets hard, you could make powder
even with that kind of stuff.
I paint with clay, painful, wood.
1969, I worked in a pick a dealer,
There's a little old woman.
She was very guarded.
She had a good spirit.
Blonde hair, she was the mother of pick a dealer,
She bought my first painting.
I paint every day.
I'd be inspired with what God tell me what to paint.
It's a duck painting.
That's going to be a fund raising.
See, I'm an artist with people telling me what they want,
I give them what they want.
They want a building, I'll do a building.
You could share with general folks.
Yeah, I worked 25 years on the waterfront
I just had to get up early in the morning.
Early morning is the best time for me
to see the the moon,
the stars, the first quarter, the second quarter,
the third quarter
and the last quarter and the star did inspire me,
like that Van Gogh.
All your Master painter Hughes, they paint years and years
you don't paint like Rembrandt.
I paint now 80 by 60 customize canva
made out of Houston Texas.
Here I have a lot of paintings to cover that.
I painted Sun flowers, I painted Lake Charles Bridge.
I painted in Hawaii.
And I got some more commission to paint that
a handful in nature on 80 by 60.
I make my own color, so I use primary color.
I don't go with all those off color.
You make your color like you cook it.
I'm color blind.
I see shadows in shades.
At first, I painted with a knife.
My favorite part about about painting is
it comes from your soul.
It's a feel that you get.
And when the feel you get within, it's just like
Nobody can stop you from a stretching yourself.
It's just, it's a spiritual thing, really forever.
Anybody that do something from their soul,
you cannot put a time on it.
It comes from you.
How long it take ?
You take like the musician;
Marvin Gaye, all year It was the same procedure.
All the ones, Stevie Wonder, all R&B Artist are rockers.
Well, you know what?
It's the feel that you get it's a feel.
All about your feeling, you gotta feel it from your
soul and from your heart and your mind.
You got nothing to fuel you.
You starve and go broke
It's a very hard living to me.
If artists don't go on the road and get exposure
the best thing for them to do is just say, well
well, well, I'm doing it as a heartbeat or I'll go home.
I went to Colorado Spring, New York, Paris, France.
whatever it takes for me to get there, I've been there.
I'm living to see my pain.
Praise the Lord.
- [Diane] Discover more at facebook.com/Eddie Mormon artist.
That wraps it up for this edition of "WLIW Arts Beat".
We'd like to hear what you think.
So like us on Facebook, join the conversation
on Twitter and visit our webpage
for features and to watch episodes of the show.
We hope to see you next time.
I'm Diane Masciale
Thank you for watching "WLIW Arts Beat".
Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"
was made possible by viewers like you.