Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (February 25, 2021) — The Miller Art Museum in downtown Sturgeon Bay is excited to unveil two new exhibitions starting Saturday, March 6: Primary Characters: Contemporary American Realism by Ariana Vaeth and Women Telling Stories in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8. Both exhibitions will be on display through Monday, April 19, 2021.
Milwaukee-based artist Ariana Vaeth’s realist paintings focus on a personal narrative that honors interactions with those who instruct her character. The autobiographical self-portraits are staged cinematically, with a primary cast of characters who re-enact the cherished and confidential moments of Vaeth’s private life.
“Like the American Realist painter Edward Hopper, Ariana locates her subjects in dramatic interior spaces, which isolate the figures from the outside world and holds the viewer’s eye on a captivating, unfolding scene,” says Curator Helen del Guidice.
The artist adds, “My spaces invest in the patterns and textures that occupy these homes. Bodily extremities express communication within settings that are invitation only. Textiles resonate within memories. Tending to these surfaces prioritize the visual characterizations of the relics of our habitat.”
Akin to the subjects of Mary Cassatt, Vaeth’s subjects interact with a sense of joy, physical connection and deep familial bond. By utilizing baroque methods of performative gestures, Vaeth animates her subjects, congealing them in full motion and mid-sentence, suspending them in a state of vulnerability where they are fully reciprocal and indulging the moment.
Vaeth’s work is focused on contemporary realism through the self-portrait. Raised in Baltimore, MD, the artist is a Graduate of MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design) and fulfilled an exchange program at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Following undergrad, she completed a studio-based Artist in Residence program at her alma mater. Vaeth has shown in Milwaukee at the Portrait Society Gallery, the Charles Allis Museum, and Haggerty Museum of Art as well as Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry for ‘Black Creativity.’
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Miller will feature Vaeth as a guest for the eighth edition of The Studio Door, part of the organization’s 2021 Second Thursday Program Series. The program is set for Thursday, March 11 at 10:30 AM on Facebook Live. Del Guidice will discuss the exhibition, the future of American Realism and the landscape of the art world for emerging artists today. This interview will be attended by a select audience due to COVID-19 and followed by a Q&A with the artist.
Women Telling Stories will be featured on the Ruth Morton Miller Mezzanine and celebrates the work of four women artists, three of which are represented in the museum’s permanent collection in honor of International Women’s Day: IsAbel Beaudoin, Judith Roth, Suzanne Rose and Claire Kat Erickson. The Roth works are part of a larger portfolio of works gifted from the Kohler Foundation, Inc. by the influential Chicago artist.
Featured Door County artist Claire Kat Erickson presents a galleria of embroidered line drawing portraits of friends and strangers that take a gentle eye-to-eye look at the grace, potential and humanity of each of her subjects. The melancholic faces and in-progress details of the sewing suggest the need to heal the inequitable relationship between the generalized society and people of color.
The upper-level Gerhard CF Miller Gallery highlights a selected collection of works in a new installation of large-scale watercolor and egg tempera paintings surveying the local winter landscape by Mr. Miller, museum founder.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Miller continues in its efforts to provide another safe way for the public to experience art—from the street or the confines of a car. Window exhibitions, which debuted at the start of the pandemic in 2020, continue in the Museum’s new art space located at 142 S. 3rd Avenue, which currently features a rotating selection of works from the permanent collection.
As of March 8, 2021, the museum will expand access with limited hours: Monday 12 – 7pm, Thursday and Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm. Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday. Admission is free but donations are encouraged; an elevator is available to access galleries on the Ruth Morton Miller Mezzanine. Occupancy will be monitored and all visitors are required to wear a face mask or covering and maintain physical distance. For Museum Store purchases, only credit or debit card will be accepted and visitors will be encouraged to utilize provided hand sanitizer. Visitors are encouraged to review safety guidelines, which can be located at www.millerartmuseum.org, prior to visiting.
The museum is located at 107 S. 4th Avenue inside the Door County Library in downtown Sturgeon Bay. For more information about current exhibitions or the museum, call (920) 746-0707 or visit the website.
About the Miller Art Museum
The Miller Art Museum is Door County’s year-round center for exhibition, education and creative enrichment in the visual arts and the Peninsula’s only fine art museum, housing a dynamic permanent collection of 20th c. Wisconsin art. The Museum’s main gallery features regularly changing exhibitions, embracing a wide range of subjects and media, both historic and contemporary; the second floor Gerhard CF Miller wing surveys the extraordinary life and work of celebrated dean of Door County artists Gerhard CF Miller, the Museum’s namesake, along with a rotating selection of works from the permanent collection. Visit the Museum Store to browse a diverse selection of books, artisan crafts, paper goods and unique gifts.