WLIW Arts Beat

S2021 E801 | FULL EPISODE

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.

AIRED: September 06, 2021 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

[upbeat music]

- 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,

conceptual work.

- [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.

Thank 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.

[upbeat music]

- 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.

[gentle music]

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.

[gentle music]

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,

three 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.

[gentle music]

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.

[gentle music]

- 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.

[lively music]

- 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

improve partners.

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

[upbeat music]

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.

[musical sounds]

- 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,

visit etsy.com/shop/toNova.

And here's a look at this week's Art's History

[upbeat music]

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.

[upbeat music]

- 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.

[upbeat music]

You could share with general folks.

[upbeat music]

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.

[upbeat music]

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

just singing.

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.

[upbeat music]

- [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.

Thank you.

[upbeat music]

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