The Tory Folliard Gallery’s latest exhibition, “surreal…so real,” features 28 modern artists united by their ties to surrealism. The 20th-century avant-garde movement was pioneered by Salvador Dalí and concerned with giving expression to the unconscious mind. The roots of the movement, however, run as deep as Hieronymus Bosch’s psychedelic 13th-century depictions of hell. The artists represented here tap both the movement’s history and its universal themes.
Tom Berenz's current paintings combine recognizable bits and pieces from ordinary life--playground equipment, mittens and hats, ducks and strawberries--with swaths of color and pattern, piling them together into tight compositions that he calls mounds...
One might easily imagine the life of Wisconsin artist Patrick Farrell as just an illusion.
How else could it be that a boy raised in a trailer park — who never went beyond the eighth grade in school — could grow into a renowned painter, breathing three-dimensional life into oil and canvas with a skill that was totally self-taught?
Memory becomes fragmentary in time. As the past moves into the distance, memories become less distinct, reduced at times to images, colors or scents that evoke mnemonic awakenings. This is the creative realm where Tom Berenz works.
Katie Musolff and Andy Fletcher say they are old souls. For me, though, their paintings describe a childlike wonder, an exultant surprise at seeing the mysterious color of a beetle or the depth of the sky at dawn.
I met Tom Berenz back in 2008 when we were teaching together at Ripon College. Both Wisconsin-based painters with backgrounds in traditional methods, we often met to discuss our views on painting and art. Since then we have exhibited together and from time to time encounter each other’s work in shows around the state.
The Wonderful World of Stephen Warde Anderson explores the vivid imagination and artistic genius of this accomplished outsider artist and Rockford native whose stylized paintings are inspired by beautiful fantasies of figures throughout history and mythology, film and literature, as well as subjects and stories culled from his own genealogical research. Also featured in this 15-week exhibition is the 2014 short film Fantasy Tableau by award-winning documentary Kate Balsley who explores his "marvelously eccentric" life and art. Related education programs include a free lecture by Anderson on Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. Concurrent exhibits at RAM include the landmark 75th Young Artist Show (opens March 6).