The James Watrous Gallery is a place to explore and learn about art from Wisconsin. Our focus is sharing the work of Wisconsin artists past and present and investigating ideas at the intersection of the sciences, arts, and letters. Solo exhibits present a significant body of artwork by a single artist, while our curated shows often draw connections between art and other disciplines. We strive to create a welcoming environment that encourages engagement and inquiry.
Current Exhibition: FRI, NOV 15 – SUN, JAN 26, 2019
Sentimental pet portraits and pastoral “farmscapes” are ubiquitous, especially in a farm state like Wisconsin. Craig Blietz and S.V. Medaris take these timeworn tropes and make them new again through brilliant draftsmanship, dramatic scale, sly humor, and their passion for the animals they portray. Both Medaris and Blietz are profoundly concerned about our relationship with the animals in our lives, from domestic pets and backyard chickens to animals raised for milk, eggs, and meat. This personal connection with animals is integral to their artwork, and inspires viewers to respond with humor, awe, and humble appreciation.
Join us for the FREE Artist Reception for Craig Blietz and S.V. Medaris FRI, NOV 22 from 5 PM to 7 PM.
Craig Blietz: Agraria
Craig Blietz has been painting cows, sheep, and goats for decades, and his canvases seem to get grander in scale and ambition every year. He begins each new painting with delicate drawings and goache studies, gradually building up to complex compositions that include multiple animals, plant imagery, and graphic elements like fencing and windmills. Blietz’s most recent work masses herds of Holsteins close to the picture plane, creating broad swathes of black and white paint that flicker back and forth between realism and abstraction. While not a farmer himself, Blietz is intimate with his rural subjects and knows many of them by name.
S.V. Medaris: Making Marks Great and Small
A painter and printmaker, Medaris is also a visual storyteller committed to creating a new and engaging installation for every show. She often combines large and smaller works to draw the viewer in and create a richly layered viewing experience. Medaris’s black and white prints are as captivating as her work in color, and the audacious scale of her woodcuts makes her technical virtuosity even more impressive. As a small farmer herself, raising animals for market in rural Mt. Horeb, Medaris’s imagery reflects her personal relationship with each individual chicken, hog, and goat.
Free and open to the public, the James Watrous Gallery is located on Overture Center’s third floor. Gallery hours are noon-5pm Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and noon-8pm on Friday and Saturday, or by appointment.
The Watrous Gallery is a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, which improves life in Wisconsin through programs that explore, explain, and sustain Wisconsin thought and culture. For more information on James Watrous Gallery exhibitions and Wisconsin Academy Talks, a regular lecture series in Overture Center for the Arts, click here.