Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

Ariana Vaeth: New Work

Exhibition Is Open by Appointment at Lynden Sculpture Garden; Admission Waived

By - Jul 13th, 2020 03:21 pm

Ariana Vaeth: New Work opens at the Lynden Sculpture Garden on Monday, July 13, 2020 and remains on view through Sunday, September 27, 2020. Vaeth’s autobiographical oil paintings chronicle formative relationships—primarily among young women—and honor the people most important to the artist in a given moment. The exhibition is open by appointment only. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 West Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217. Gallery hours are daily 10 am-4 pm; closed Thursdays.

Gallery capacity is limited to three visitors at a time; masks are required. To make an appointment online, visit
For same-day appointments, call 414-446-8794.

More information and a slideshow at:

Thanks to the generosity of the Herzfeld Foundation, admission to the Lynden has been waived through March 31, 2021. People are welcome to visit the grounds during our regular hours without making an appointment. Learn more about visitor guidelines and safety protocols here:

Ariana Vaeth’s autobiographical paintings are rooted in intimacy. According to Vaeth, “these paintings celebrate the generous closeness allowed by those I am privileged to know.” Vaeth evokes these moments of closeness through staged, performative retellings. Preparatory photoshoots capture gestures and enable Vaeth to see herself as others see her—but her inclusion in the paintings restricts her agency: “I can never fully be director or actor when producing a composition.” Instead, she exchanges control for the serendipity found in interactions among trusted loved ones. Prior to painting, she reasserts that control, constructing the final composition from elements drawn from different photographs.

In addition to portraying her closest friends and herself, Vaeth constructs domestic spaces for them to inhabit. Defined by cramped perspectives and a modified bird’s-eye view, these “by invitation only” settings are filled with props and patterns, each rug and curtain freighted with specific memories, each a piece in Vaeth’s personal narrative. Bodies are depicted in a single plane, as if to equalize personalities—everyone’s a diva in these paintings—amping up the compositional tension. Gestures–as in “Pre-Game”– appear to burst beyond the confines of the canvas. Facial expressions—as in “Rose Garden”– take on dramatic weight. “These are moments that are about to break,” says Vaeth. “They represent peaks—peaks that may come again, but may not.”

In the gallery, Vaeth displays seven recent paintings. (Outside the main gallery, Vaeth’s love of pattern overflows in a series of 12 x 12-inch paintings exploring pattern and texture, another, non-figurative, index of Vaeth’s memories.) These self-portraits, mostly with companions, find Vaeth participating in the rituals and inhabiting the environments of close friendship: talking, hanging out in kitchens and bathrooms, curled up on a couch. Make-up, hairbrushes, bottles of wine and local beer, bananas, pickles, abandoned coffee mugs, and the occasional dog are in evidence. And yet there is nothing mundane about these paintings, which instead convey intimacy—and especially the intimacy of young women—with an intensity that borders on the magical. Vaeth describes herself as “utilizing my most prized companions to build a piece of shelter.” In these new works she invites us, temporarily, into this glamorous, clamorous refuge.

Fifty percent of the proceeds of each sale will go to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund to be used to defend Chrystul Kizer, a young survivor of sex trafficking who currently faces murder charges for killing her trafficker in self-defense.

Ariana Vaeth: New Work is part of Lynden’s 2020 Call & Response programming. Call & Response is an ongoing project that gathers a community of artists who share a commitment to the radical Black imagination as a means to re-examine the past and imagine a better future. Other participants in the 2020 programming include indigo activist Arianne King Comer, filmmaker and storyteller Portia Cobb, chef and food scholar Scott Barton, choreographer Reggie Wilson, and sculptor Glenn Williams, among others. The 2020 Call & Response programming, some of which is virtual, has received generous support from the Brico Fund, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, and the Chipstone Foundation.

About the Artist
Ariana Vaeth was raised in Baltimore and received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. While an undergraduate, she participated in an exchange program with the Maryland Institute College of Art. Following graduation, Vaeth completed a studio based artist-in-residence program at her alma mater and then received a 2017 Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L Nohl Fund Fellowship in the Emerging Artist category. She was an inaugural recipient of, a program modeled on Gener8tor’s accelerator for creative entrepreneurs, and in February she received a Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award as a promising newcomer. Vaeth has exhibited in Milwaukee at the Portrait Society Gallery, the Charles Allis Museum, and the Haggerty Museum of Art; and in Chicago at Woman Made Gallery and the Museum of Science and Industry in the Black Creativity exhibition. Her work was selected for the 2019 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

About the Lynden
The Lynden operates as a laboratory at the intersection of art, nature, and culture. Since opening to the public in 2010, we have worked with artists, educators, students, and our community to create, support, and share experiences that integrate our collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures and temporary installations, Lynden’s community of artists, and the natural ecology of our 40-acre site. The sculpture garden is open to art and nature lovers of all ages daily, 10 am-4 pm; closed Thursdays. Thanks to the generosity of the Herzfeld Foundation, admission is currently waived. Annual memberships are also available.

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