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.
Uprooted: Plants in a Changing Climate
FRI, APR 26 – SUN, JUN 23, 2019
In an era described as the Sixth Great Extinction, plants both rare and familiar are at risk, and climate change is accelerating the loss of unique habitats and species. To communicate this visually, we’ve asked five Wisconsin artists to create new work focused on the plants and plant communities that are threatened in Wisconsin. Cynthia Brinich-Langlois (Whitewater), Helen Klebesadel (Madison), Bethann Moran-Handzlik (Fort Atkinson), Katie Musolff (Stoddard), and Lynne Railsback (Williams Bay) are working with local naturalists and scientists to learn about habitats where losses of local botanical diversity are expected to be significant. These include Wisconsin’s northern forests and lakes, where iconic species such as white pine, birch, and hemlock are at risk, as is wild rice; coastal wetlands, where native species are threatened by extreme changes in water levels, pollutant loadings from upstream sources, and invasive species; and oak-savannas and prairies, where native species are threatened by habitat encroachment, loss of sufficient winter dormancy and competing species from warmer zones.
Sharon Kerry-Harlan: Solo Exhibition
FRI, JUL 12 – SUN, AUG 25, 2019
Sharon Kerry-Harlan’s quilts and collages combine dense patterns into complex rhythms, creating images that hum with energy. While she has most often favored a quiet palette of rich browns, ochre, and black, Kerry-Harlan recently began working in vivid color, incorporating African print fabrics and bright acrylic paint. Her solo exhibition will combine these new works with a selection of her exceptional discharge-dyed quilts and small, mixed-media collages that tend toward abstraction.
Kerry-Harlan’s rich patterns often center on the human figure, especially the face. In her words, “The density of contemporary city living provides inspiration for my work. My art, like a bustling city, merges vocal, electronic, mental, and spiritual chaos into a confluence of concentric hustles, jabbers of conversations. The mass of human faces in the crowded urban environment intrigues me—what they reveal to the world and what they disguise from the world. In my artwork, I use the human face and figure to make statements about the quick turnarounds that confront us both in life’s mundane and unexpected circumstances.”
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.