Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

Exhibition Honoring 2022 Nohl Fellow Opens at Haggerty Museum of Art

Opening Reception is Thursday, June 1

By - May 17th, 2023 03:06 pm

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University opens an exhibition of work by the artists who received the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists in 2022 with a reception on Thursday, June 1, from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibition brings together work by Valaria Tatera and Jason S. Yi in the Established category; and three artists in the Emerging category: JW Balsley, Inna Dmitrieva, and Molly Hassler. The exhibition was curated by Emilia Layden, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Haggerty Museum of Art, and remains on view through August 6, 2023.

The Haggerty Museum of Art is located at 1234 West Tory Hill Street, on the Marquette campus. The Museum is open daily from 10 am – 4:30 pm. The museum will be closed July 3-7.

A catalogue highlighting the work of the 2022 Nohl Fellows, with essays by Beth Z. Zinsli, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Jessica S. Hong, Cris Siqueira, Keith Gessen, and Temim Fruchter, will be available for purchase at the Haggerty Museum of Art, the Lynden Sculpture Garden, and online:

For images and credits:

The 2022 Fellows were chosen in late 2021 from a field of 165 applicants by a panel of three jurors: Jade Powers, then assistant curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; Victoria Sung, then associate curator of visual arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Toccarra A. H. Thomas, a media and performance artist, film programmer, and arts administrator who is currently director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund and Joy Engine, and administered by the Lynden, the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists provide unrestricted funds for artists to create new work or complete work in progress. The program is open to practicing artists residing in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties.

This year’s fellows have filled the galleries with large-scale sculpture, film, cartoons, and a bar that we can all visit. As immigrants, Jason S. Yi and Inna Dmitrieva map their personal dislocation onto geopolitical events. Yi’s work has often focused on the physical, political, and cultural boundaries between North and South Korea, but in Fallout, a large installation, he addresses borders and boundaries as a defining feature of the landscape, a way to ask, “what is in, around, and beyond this immediate reality.” As Jessica Hong observes in her catalogue essay, the piles of faux logs in Fallout appear to be simultaneously falling apart and coming together—an invitation to “question our own perception of the world as well as our place in it.” For Dmitrieva, born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the fellowship coincided with the war in Ukraine. Language Family, a short film, examines the past she shared with her recently deceased grandmother, and Voices Behind Silence captures interviews Dmitrieva conducted, very carefully, in her native city in the early months of the conflict. Both works attempt to measure loss. As Keith Gessen writes in the catalogue, “Inna Dmitrieva’s latest work asks what it means to be Russian—whether culturally or linguistically or simply through the accident of geography—in a time of war.”

Valaria Tatera, like her fellow-sculptor Yi, employs abstraction to “open an expansive, critical space of reflection and conversation.” In that space, she, too, enumerates losses as she materializes her conversation with her family’s history. Blood Memory is a wall-mounted plexiglass sculpture. In it, as essayist Beth A. Zinsli explains, Tatera repurposes Minimalist forms and materials to interrogate “the complex entanglements that tie together blood quantum, self-worth, and acceptance.” Yet paces away we can’t help detecting mino-bimaadiziwin, the Ojibwe word meaning finding balance in mind, body, and spirit—and the title Tatera chose for her exhibition–in Healing, a vertical sculptural installation. The scale tips toward hope and joy in Healing, a work in which fine, suspended threads, bedecked with jingles and swathed in the sound of rain, replace the veils of ribbon in Tatera’s earlier works. The repetitive labor and the culturally significant materials remain, but Tatera is allowing us to peer into the future; she’s letting the light reflect off the tin jingles.

Though less austere in their presentation, Hassler and Balsley make “semi-narrative” work that imagines new endings to old stories. “I try to bring out the best in my characters,” writes Balsley; Hassler sees both “sweetness and trauma” in queer and trans coming of age. Balsley’s comics are populated by “underdog types with complex personalities,” as Cris Siqueira notes, ready to criticize corporations, social media, and “capitalism’s culture of individualism and greed.” The artist’s microcosms are filled with drastic situations and anthropomorphic animals, and the character studies and sketches in the gallery provide a window into the way Balsley builds his worlds. Hassler is no less of a world-builder. Trained as a fiber artist, Hassler turns to woodworking, ceramics, drawing, and collage to create an homage to Firehouse Lanes Bar & Grill, the Midwestern tavern where their mother tended bar and they grew up. Hassler locates the origins of their practice in the “geographic dysphoria I feel navigating between the contemporary art world and the bucolic life of my upbringing.” But as Temim Fruchter observes in her essay, She Was a Public House also subverts dominant narratives that “tell stories of queers moving from small towns to big cities to find themselves.” When you set foot in Hassler’s bar you find “the past stitched up into a queer utopic present so vivid you can see its seams.”

About the Artists
Valaria Tatera: Mino-bimaadiziwin

Valaria Tatera is a Milwaukee-based visual artist, activist, lecturer, and curator, and an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She graduated with an MFA in 3-D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work explores the impact of colonization on Indigenous erasure, visibility, and resilience. The intention is “for the work to indigenize and hold space for statistics that often erase the individual.” She has exhibited regionally and nationally in galleries and museums, and in 2021 she received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant to present MMIWG2S at Wriston Art Gallery at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Jason S. Yi: Fallout
Jason S. Yi has exhibited in national and international venues. His work has been included in the international biennial exhibition at the Inside-out Art Museum in Beijing and in the inaugural Sculpture Milwaukee international public art exhibition. It has been exhibited at the Moran Art Museum in Seoul; Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend; and the Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City, Michigan. His awards include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (2016), two Mary L. Nohl Individual Artist Fellowships (2006, 2022), and the Kamiyama Artist Residency in Japan (2003), sponsored by the Japan Foundation. His work is in the permanent collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Kamiyama Museum of Art, the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the Dennos Museum Center, and the Edward F. Albee Foundation, New York.

JW Balsley: Comics, Characters, Process
After graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) with a BFA, JW Balsley spent several years learning music/audio recording and freelancing as an artist in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Busan, South Korea, before returning to Wisconsin to focus on his own projects. He is currently freelancing as an artist, creating online comics, and learning 2-D animation with plans to create short episodes based on his characters, stories, and comics.

Inna Dmitrieva: Tongue Ties
Inna Dmitrieva is an experimental filmmaker and educator originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, and currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She holds a BA in Linguistics and Cross-Cultural Communication from the Saint Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and an MFA in Cinematic Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work has screened at festivals nationally and internationally including Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Moviate Underground Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, and MujerDOC. She currently teaches film production at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Molly Hassler: The Long Way ’Round
Molly Hassler holds a BFA in Fibers and a Certificate in Community Arts. They are a 2021 recipient of the Springboard for the Arts Rural Regenerator Fellowship and they have been awarded residencies at Vermont Studio Center and, most recently, Wassaic Project. They have shown their work at Ortega Y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, New York, the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center in Hastings, Nebraska, and locally at Portrait Society Gallery and Real Tinsel. Hassler currently works at Woodland Pattern Book Center and Lynden Sculpture Garden, carrying out multiple community-based projects in the greater Milwaukee Area.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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