Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (January 13, 2021) — The Miller Art Museum in downtown Sturgeon Bay is set to unveil a new exhibition on January 16 that provides a platform for the exploration and discussion of abstract art. From Deep Within: Meditations of Wisconsin Abstractions features the work of regional artists Marjorie Mau of Green Bay, Cristian Andersson of Appleton, and Alyssa Krause of Milwaukee. The exhibition is featured on the Ruth Morton Miller Mezzanine alongside Winter’s Spring: An Ältere Garten by Leslie Iwai in the main galleries which, due to coronavirus circumstances, has been extended; both will continue through February 26, 2021.
“From Deep Within: Meditations of Wisconsin Abstractions” examines the meditations behind the work of the three artists, who present distinctly different painting styles. The goal is to expand the understanding of abstract art, according to Helen del Guidice, curator of the exhibit.
The struggle to break free from what Kazimir Malevich, one of the pioneers of abstract art, once described as the “dead weight of reality,” has been going on since 1911 with the debut of Cossacks by Wassily Kandinsky, a painting which is widely viewed as the first official abstract work of art. With this in mind, del Guidice posed the question “What is it?”—perhaps the most frequently asked question about abstract art—to each artist.
Seven new works by Mau undertake the vocabulary of artmaking as she contemplates the compressed spaces and stacked rock formation of the Niagara Escarpment. Through construction and deconstruction, Mau’s paintings make flatness out of what is volumetric. Typically working in black and white, the artist infuses these new works with bold, intense jewel tones.
While Mau explores the unique geologic features of the Peninsula, Cristian Andersson presents selections from his Symphonic Series, which interpret the music of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho with wildly colorful large-scale oil paintings in which he assigns a code of visual characteristics to each of the musical instruments.
Alyssa Krause plays with our sense of perception of recognizable space and familiar objects with luscious tropical colors in her abstract botanical paintings by modifying natural debris and creating arrangements that make us question what we think we see.
Each artist begins with a tangible inspiration that then embarks on a journey of construction and deconstruction, and opines in the form of work of art born from deep within.
“From Deep Within provides us with an opportunity to highlight the Ruth Morton Mezzanine as an independent gallery space,” says Helen del Guidice, curator. “Traditionally, the Mezzanine has featured works from the collection, which will continue to be a core focus. However, to enhance programming and overall visitor experience, we intend to utilize the space a bit differently, accommodating the Museum’s desire to exhibit larger-scale works and explore new work, whether from the collection or otherwise, that will complement concurrent exhibits.”
Currently on view in the main galleries is Winter’s Spring: An Ältere Garten by Leslie Iwai, which, due to COVID, has been extended through Friday, February 26, 2021. The exhibit contemplates the re-emergence of innocence and childhood wonder that comes in the later decades of life and explores relationships and connection through a range of vibrantly colored sculptural creations, which unfold a joyful, metaphoric garden.
Featured in the upper-level Gerhard CF Miller Gallery is a selection of large-scale watercolor and egg tempera paintings surveying the local winter landscape by Mr. Miller, museum founder.
While the Miller Art Museum currently remains open by appointment, it is also continuing in its efforts to provide another 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, 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. Continuing through January 22, passersby will see abstract and symbolist works by Christine Style, followed by a selection of work by the celebrated landscape, portrait and abstract artist Emmett Johns from January 22 – February 5, 2021.
Due to the ongoing risk of the coronavirus, the Miller Art Museum is open to the public by reservation only. 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 all safety guidelines before visiting. Reservations can be made by calling the museum administrative office at 920.746.0707 between the hours of 10am – 5pm, M-F.
The museum is located at 107 S. 4th Avenue inside the Door County Library in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Admission is free of charge but freewill donations are encouraged; an elevator is available to access galleries on the Ruth Morton Miller Mezzanine. For more information about current exhibitions or the museum, call (920) 746-0707 or visit www.millerartmuseum.org.
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.