Kat Murrell
Art Date

The World As They Know It

Inova show offers seven very different views of where we are now.

By - Dec 13th, 2013 11:16 am

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The current Inova show offers seven very different views of where we are now.

David Bowie posed the question “where are we now” on his first studio album in ten years, released last spring. That same query seems to have been on the minds of the seven artists featured in the 2012 Nohl Fellowship exhibition at Inova, which runs through this Sunday, December 15.

How we respond to life in a late capitalist society is part of the art created by Colin Matthes and Faythe Levine. Matthes’ installation, Green Mini

The car sponsored by BelAir Cantina and Finks has come out a little worse for wear in Colin Matthes' Green Mini Demo Derby at Inova.

The car sponsored by BelAir Cantina and Finks has come out a little worse for wear in Colin Matthes’ Green Mini Demo Derby at Inova. Photograph: Inova / Facebook.

Demo Derby has been a series of small-scale smash-em-up events where participating teams use remote control cars powered by sustainable solar energy to celebrate community and revel in playful destruction. Faythe Levine’s photographs survey intentional living communities in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina, where people have banded together to find ways of living that focus on shared experiences and creativity. Communal Kitchen, North Carolina documents a cooking space loosely separated from the green, leafy, outdoors, packed with staple foodstuffs like rice, peanut butter, and heirloom tomatoes. Levine’s images are ostensibly documentary, but she has an extraordinary eye for rich color and still lifes naturally born from the gestures of everyday living.

Tyanna Buie‘s work fixates on familial ties with nostalgia and innocence. A series of monumental prints picture a smiling father and a small, happily contented daughter on his lap. Buie’s sense of texture and composition is poetic, with her printed and drawn figures awash in earthy tones highlighted by rosy pink. Faint blue televisions and ice cream cones float in the background like ciphers of childhood pleasure. As lovely as the surfaces are, there is something remote as the intangible quality of memory is evoked.

Lois Bielefeld‘s photographs are featured in two distinctly different series. Weeknight Dinners picture meals in which sustenance is provided and togetherness with family members is suggested, though no one looks particularly happy about it. Conceal Carry is a deeply intriguing series as the intervention of the photographer adds a curiously symbolic layer. The gun owners in the photographs are show with their weapon of choice and have selected the place in their home where they are photographed. However, a translucent scrim separates them from their surroundings, though details of ordinary living rooms and domestic spaces can be seen. Things such as an American flag, religious statues, and a lampshade decorated with deer are faintly visible in the background. One of the most curious prints shows a couple identified as Lisa and Pat, who hold their Smith and Wessons pointed in each other’s general direction while their arms are wrapped around each other’s waist, a conflation of love and violence.

Lois Bielefeld's photograph of Lisa and Pat is part of her Conceal and Carry series currently on view at Inova.

Lois Bielefeld’s photograph of Lisa and Pat is part of her Conceal and Carry series currently on view at Inova. Photograph: http://www.loisbielefeld.com

The insertion of art into unexpected places informs a number of other Fellowship artists. Brad Fiore‘s installation details The Karabekian Center, which is a mobile file cabinet holding a variety of small-scale paintings modeled on noted contemporary works, plus didactic documents on art theory and commentary. This cabinet apparently weighs “as much as two adult gazelles,” and has been lugged around Milwaukee neighborhoods as a means of starting random dialogue on questions such as “what is good art,” or even to begin with, “what is art?”

The direct injection of art into community life is central to Paul Kjelland, who produces posters and graphic media to confront issues of social justice. His work has been used for protests against the Palermo’s Pizza company as well as for efforts to shelter the homeless in Toronto. His work does not shy away from a critique of the establishment when it comes to environmental preservation, and the treatment of citizens as in the controversial death of Derek Williams in a Milwaukee police car after his arrest in July, 2011.

Flimmaker Danielle Beverly addresses community issues with great poignancy in the excerpt from her film Old South, which is about the building of a Kappa Alpha fraternity in a predominantly African American community in a Georgia town. The architecture of the frat house draws heavily on the style of antebellum plantation houses, and the fraternity is known for the flying of a Confederate flag outside their residence. As with the other artists in the exhibition, Beverly asks the underlying question of where are we now, and what are we going to do about it?

The 2012 Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fellowships Exhibition closes this Sunday, December 15. The exhibition is on view at Inova, 2155 North Prospect Avenue.


 Chicago-Milwaukee Photo Social: Current Tendencies III Artist Talk Meet & Greet

Haggerty Museum of Art

530 N. 13th Street

3-4pm Artist talk by Jon Horvath

4:30-7pm Event continues with Photo Social at the Milwaukee Ale House

The Current Tendencies III exhibition is a broad survey of artists working in the Milwaukee area. This event highlights the work of Jon Horvath, and will expand into a social event featuring photographers from the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.

Jazales Art Studio Holiday Sale

Image: Jazale’s Art Studio / Facebook.

Jazale’s Art Studio Holiday Sale

731 E. Center Street


Continue (or finally begin) your holiday shopping with a visit to this studio featuring work by Della Wells, Evelyn Patricia Terry, Sonji Hunt, Kari Garon, Vedales Art Studio, Sherman Pitts, Christopher McIntyre Percpetions, and others.


Riverwest Random, Recycled, Art and Gift Show

Falcon Bowl

801 E. Clarke Street


Admission $3, includes 3 raffle tickets. Kids under 12 admitted free.

Take your holiday treasure hunt to this event featuring a wide variety of art, handmade crafts, clothing and accessories, organic foods, body care products, and more.

Categories: Art, Art Date

0 thoughts on “Art Date: The World As They Know It”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I attended the Mary Nohl Fellowships opening and then, some weeks later, the UWM showing of Faythe Levine’s Sign Painters film, which was interesting as Faythe had photos from the film in the exhibit. The Falcon Bowl Riverwest Random, Recycled, Art and Gift Show and the Jazale’s Art Studio sale on Center Street seem like great opportunities for locally-made Xmas gifts!

  2. Anonymous says:

    […] very nice recap of the Nohl Artists’ Fellowship Exhibition. Scroll down to the bottom to read a thoughtful […]

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