Judith Ann Moriarty
Art accessible

Sale at Dean Jensen Gallery

By - Dec 10th, 2009 11:42 am
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Mushroom Loves (2009), watercolor on found paper, 11 x 16

Claire Stigliani’s Mushroom Loves (2009), watercolor on found paper, 11 x 16

Does Big Bangs, Small Bucks 2 refer to the deer-hunting season in Wisconsin? Does it have something to do with fireworks? Nope, the title signals the second year Dean Jensen Gallery, which is located at 759 N. Water St., showcases lots of art for little prices, though a lot depends on what’s in your wallet.

I attended the first Big/Small exhibition last year and came home with several, outstanding fairly priced works. But don’t go there seeking garage-sale prices. No way will you find a great painting for under $50. You might find one for $100.

This show is a 50/50 mix of Wisconsin and international talent, though the word “acclaimed” doesn’t mean much in a world where everyone is a critic. Owner Dean Jensen does have a vast knowledge about art, but he wears this knowledge lightly, happy to share it with visitors.

The subtitle of the exhibition says it is “for the post-bust economy.” This is a nifty way for artists to unload what’s stored under beds and in closets, but it in no way diminishes the experience by lowering it to the questionable “art fair” level. You can trust Jensen to keep the quality high and the diversity broad in the 100 examples of photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures and installation pieces.

Santiago Cucullu's Trying to Remember a Picasso in the Style of Paul Klee (2009), watercolor on paper, 9 ½ x 6 ¾

Santiago Cucullu’s Trying to Remember a Picasso in the Style of Paul Klee (2009), watercolor on paper, 9 ½ x 6 ¾

Among the artists exhibiting is Claire Stigliani, an intriguing artist from the Madison area. I first saw her work earlier this year at the Portrait Society Gallery (PSG) and then again at PSG’s “Intimate Page” event. Hers is a loose goose fairytale style, and several of her sketchy drawings/paintings are available at PSG through Jan. 4. Jensen muses that with the current popularity of chick-lit style art, perhaps Ms. S., who I think shines in Big Bangs/Small Bucks 2 (love the wolf getting it on with the maiden!), will be a future star.

Santiago Cucullu, a major talent with major credits (including Green Gallery East), is exhibiting a series of colored pencil drawings on paper. Charming and a big switcheroo from the austere black and white installation he produced for the west wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum, these imaginings are funky salutes to Picasso and Kandinsky.

Now that we’ve dodged the blizzard bullets aimed toward Milwaukee, Friday night seems just right to attend the opening reception. Early birds can hit the gallery at 6 p.m., and those who choose to linger can consider the biggest bangs for the smallest bucks. Peruse a catalogue of this exhibition by clicking here.
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Big Bangs, Small Bucks 2
Dean Jensen Gallery
759 N. Water St., Milwaukee
414-278-7100
Opening Reception: Friday, Dec. 11, 6-9 p.m.
Exhibition runs from Dec. 11 through Jan. 30, 2010

Categories: Visual Art

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