During a stroll home from the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum on a sunny, dry Sunday when the museum’s lush gardens hosted a wedding with bridesmaids gowned in black strapless frocks, I noticed, quite by accident, a small piece of art secured to a chain-link fence on the east side of busy Prospect Avenue.
Modest to the point of almost not being there, the 14” x 10” paint-on-canvas piece was perfectly positioned, back-dropped by the last of summer’s green growing things. Painted in a shade of moss, it completed (rather than competed with) the urban landscape.
Zig-zagging across the front of the wee work were two cut-and-stitched rows (one in pale yellow, one in faded rose), the jagged motif suggesting mountain ranges, or better yet, a remnant from a Native American teepee. UW-Milwaukee’s artful Inova is a block north, so perhaps an art student hung it there to protest art hung in marbled halls.
Whatever the intention of the maker, it hit the mark. If you are the maker, and you are reading this, your unsigned work did not escape notice.
In fact (whoever you are) your effort is the perfect punctuation to Venetia Dale’s installation, Objects for Objects, on floor two of the Villa. Until September 18 this Wisconsin native, currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in UW-Milwaukee’s Art Department, turns expectations inside out with found objects, coated in pewter.
The mundane becomes magic under her metalsmithing skills.
It’s great to see this longstanding venue for art using local talent to good effect. The Allis and Villa are at long last alive, well, fresh and exciting, thanks to the transformative eye of CAVT curator, Martha Monroe.