Catherine Jozwik
Visual Art

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

Or at least a couple hundred, in MOWA’s uniquely inclusive Members’ Show.

By - Aug 20th, 2019 05:18 pm
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Jackie Sciuti. Photos courtesy of MOWA.

Jackie Sciuti. Photos courtesy of MOWA.

Since the 1960s, the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s annual Members’ Exhibit has showcased the diverse artwork of museum members aged 3 to 93.

This year’s Members Exhibit, on display through September 8 at the MOWA, 205 Veterans Ave. in West Bend, features paintings, sculptures and mixed media works by 250 members of all skill levels, from hobbyists to professional artists. The exhibit “offers an invaluable look into the creative vision of contemporary Wisconsin art,” according to the MOWA website.

Located in the museum’s State Gallery, the exhibit is divided into several media and subject categories, including sculpture, glassware and ceramics, landscapes, animals, figures and portraits, abstract art, fiber art and mixed media.

From pre-kindergartners’ charming watercolors and colorful paper collage to a folk-art-inspired painting of a Wisconsin barn wedding to clay sculptures, Impressionist-influenced waterscapes and vibrant encaustic works, the community-minded Members show offers visitors a breadth of art not often seen in other exhibits.

Barns, deer, polka bands, and Milwaukee Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo are Wisconsin-themed subjects highlighted in the Members’ Exhibit. Other motifs include African wildlife, realistic painted portraits and still life, as well as birds, boats and wintry landscapes.

“This is truly a show where there is something for everyone,” said Graeme Reid, MOWA director of collections. This year marks the 17th Members’ Exhibit that Reid has helped coordinate.

Some standout member exhibit works include Chris Proeber’s mixed-media work “Gotcha,” which depicts a fist punching through drywall; Tony Staroska’s clay sculpture and homage to geology, “Warmth of Rocks”; Michelle Richeson’s contemplative oil painting, “Morning Practice”; and Maya Ashlock’s lovely acrylic piece “The Pink in the Distance.” The exhibit also shines a spotlight on many young artists under the age of 20, who experiment with colors, form, mixed media and even surrealism in their works.

Over the decades, MOWA membership has swelled to about 10,000, and the number of works represented in the annual exhibit has increased considerably. Reid noted that members exhibit slots, available on a first-come, first-served basis, are now filled within a matter of hours. All artwork featured in the exhibit must be pre-framed, and works are available for purchase. The MOWA does not take any commissions on sales of artwork.

Blue ribbons are awarded to winners in 10 categories. Here is the list of 2019 Members’ Award Show winners:

Best in Show: Jackie Sciuti, “All in a Day’s Work,” Photography

Best Emerging Artist: Maya Ashlock, “The Pink in the Distance,” acrylic on canvas, 2018

Director’s Choice: Sue Frenzel, necklace, sterling silver, beach glass and beach stone, 2019

Best Animal: Mary Gordon, “Grosbeak,” photography, 2019

Best Landscape: Kristine Hinrichs, “Sit A While,” photography, 2018

Best Figure or Portrait: Michelle Richeson, “Morning Practice,” oil, 2019

Best Abstract: Angela Johnson “Untitled,” photography and encaustic

Best Floral: Kathleen Walter, “Stronger Together,” mixed media on paper, 2018

Best 3D: Tony Staroska, “Warmth of Rocks,” clay, 2018

MOWA Staff Pick: Chris Proeber, “Gotcha,” carved wood, acrylic and drywall

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