Scott Wolniak: Landscape Record Exhibition Opens with Reception on October 25
The exhibition remains on view through February 28, 2016.
Scott Wolniak: Landscape Record opens at the Lynden Sculpture Garden on Sunday, October 25, 2015 with a reception from 3-5 pm. The exhibition includes a selection of recent work from related, ongoing projects: graphite drawings on paper, carved and painted plaster tablets, and small sculptures. Among the drawings is a large commissioned work, Tree – Lynden Sculpture Garden. Wolniak will return on January 30, 2016 at 2 pm for a wintry artist-led tour of the sculpture garden and a video program.
The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 West Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217. The exhibition remains on view through February 28, 2016.
Scott Wolniak deploys rigorous, transformative processes to complicate relationships between found and made, slow and fast, appearing and disappearing, surface and interior. His latest carved plaster tablets and graphite drawings arrive at similar aesthetic states but from opposite directions: the painted tablets respond to surface texture and chance operations, excavating compositions through deconstructive sgraffito techniques, while the drawings depart from landscape imagery and are built up into complex, almost-recognizable images created through a process of repetitive mark-making, erasure, and re-drawing. For Wolniak, there is a meditative effect in repetitive action, and the accumulation of intricate, layered marks yield phenomenological fields: “Millions of small gestures add up to create spatial energy that is not necessarily about my hand.”
Curator Nicholas Frank describes Scott Wolniak as an observer of the sculptural qualities of everyday urban decay: “the crumbling and breaking apart of foundations and underlayments, the grid loosening into gravel, rust and dust.” This observation (and concomitant collecting) has informed an expansive practice that includes drawing, sculpture, video and painting, and is most apparent at Lynden in the sculptures and series of plaster tablets or sculptural paintings. Frank identifies Willem de Kooning‘s Excavation, 1950 (which hangs at the Art Institute of Chicago in Wolniak’s hometown) as an antecedent, “marking a passage between figure and ground, image and abstraction, form and formlessness. It is a painting that teaches a painter how to paint by baring its process. De Kooning digs into his plastic surface and pulls out shapes that coalesce into images and figures even as they dissipate and dig back into their ground.”
The process of Wolniak’s recent paintings is harder to trace by eye, given the visual complexity of their layered surfaces, but the evidence is there. Chicken wire and plywood peek through deeply dug strata of plaster. Color informs and evades the actions of painting and removal in the final surfaces, which bedazzle and evoke patterns of abstraction from many histories. Like cities, the tablets tend to bury their histories under gleaming new construction.
“Wolniak is not engaged in creating urban allegories, nor natural landscapes,” continues Frank, “but his abstraction reveals a richness in paying such close attention to what might have seemed insignificant detail, or chance finds. In much of his work, including the growing set of recent drawings that render natural forms as buffeted scrapes of patterned graphite, he chances at everyday transcendence, a kind of psychedelic regard of the commonplace.”
About the Artist
Scott Wolniak is a multi-disciplinary studio artist based in Chicago. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently teaches at the University of Chicago. Wolniak has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Cultural Center; Hyde Park Art Center, Valerie Carberry Gallery, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Peres Projects, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, 65Grand, and Judith Racht Gallery, among others. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, Art in America and Art News, and featured in New American Paintings.
About the Lynden Sculpture Garden
The Lynden Sculpture Garden offers a unique experience of art in nature through its collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures sited across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland. The sculpture garden is open to art and nature lovers of all ages Fridays through Wednesdays, 10 am-5 pm (closed Thursdays). Admission to the sculpture garden is $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors; children under 6 and members are free. Annual memberships are also available.
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The event is free and open to the public.