Beasts of the Painted World

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Beasts of the Painted World

The painters in Tory Folliard’s group show capture a natural world filled with strange creatures.

Mythic Menageries Exhibit. Photo taken October 23rd, 2019 by Catherine Jozwik.

Mythic Menageries Exhibit. Photo taken October 23rd, 2019 by Catherine Jozwik.

The Tory Folliard Gallery’s current exhibition, Mythic Menageries, features 11 local, regional and international artists whose works capture the duality of the natural world, as a magical place filled with fabulous colors and imagination, but also with dark psychological, environmental, and political undertones.

On display through November 23, the exhibit includes, paintings, sculptures, and other works by Christina BothwellMark ChatterlyEl Gato ChimneyLaurie HoganFlora LangloisMichael NolandAnne SiemsAniela SobieskiFred StonehouseTom Uttech, and Robin Whiteman.

Siems, Langlois and Sobieski portray their female subjects in harmony with and empowered by nature, living in utopian forests with animals as spirit guides. Sobieski’s departure from traditional portraiture illustrates birds and clouds painted on women’s faces, perhaps to suggest lofty goals and aspirations. Noland’s bold gouache-on-paper works highlight animals highly symbolic to many cultures, such as the lion and the owl.

Mythic Menageries showcases several paintings by celebrated Saukville artist Tom Uttech, whose current retrospective exhibit Into the Woods opened at theMuseum of Wisconsin Art October 12. In his meditative paintings, Uttech embraces the remote beauty of North Woods landscapes in Wisconsin and Canada, which he’s spent significant time exploring. Like many other Mythic Menageries works, the paintings explore how changes to natural habitats effect animal and plant species. In one of Uttech’s large-scale paintings, a figure with a deer head and a human body hugs its knees, perhaps in desperation.

Chatterly’s “Big Blue Dog” sculpture, a 70-inch canine with impossibly long forelegs, stands sentry in a corner near the windows while another small dog sculpture sits next to it. Is the canine fulfilling his “watchdog” duties, protecting the gallery’s works?

Like his colleague Fred Stonehouse, Milan, Italy resident El Gato Chimney’s surrealist paintings focus on weird winged beast/human hybrids. While Stonehouse sets his canvas paintings against black backgrounds and uses ornate wooden frames found in antique shops, Chimney’s watercolor and gouache paintings on paper are lighter colored and reminiscent of book illustrations. Whiteman’s four small porcelain ceramic sculptures also consist of half-human, half-animal figures. For example, ”Peccaries” depicts a headless woman with pigs in place of feet. Bothwell’s three colored cast glass figures of fish and a squirrel with acorns, also incorporate unusual materials like old toys and doll parts.

“The thread connecting all of these artists is undeniable, but it is their differences and uniquely individual visions that are the strength of this group,” writes Stonehouse in the exhibit statement. “Their common interest in the expressive and conceptual efficacy of animals as a subject links their works together, but the highly internalized content and personal richness of their imaginations are evidence of the continued relevance of animals and the natural world as worthwhile territory for the artists to explore.”

Mythic Menageries Exhibit. Photos taken October 23rd, 2019 by Catherine Jozwik.

Noland and Malloy artwork featured in M Magazine - March, 2015

Artwork by Michael Noland and Clare Malloy is featured in the March issue of M Magazine!

Farm Fresh



The built-in shelving in the office uses white exterior and walnut stained interior to provide contrast to the striking custom-made desk, which works perfectly with the white office chair.

Michael Noland, NOW THERE WERE THREE, gouache on paper, image 8 x 12 inches

Michael Noland, NOW THERE WERE THREE, gouache on paper, image 8 x 12 inches

In the powder room, an Asian altar table is repurposed into the sink vanity while the walls are covered in stunning stacked slate floor to ceiling. The window inset lends a farmhouse feel to the space.

A multifunctional entertaining space for the whole family, the Edison bulb fixtures and the red powder-coated metal stools at the bar were chosen to satisfy the homeowners’ desire to add some industrial elements to the space. The owners’ grandkids can gather all the way around the bar, which doubles as a game table.The homeowners chose light cabinetry in the kitchen to maintain the modern feel throughout the home while not overpowering the space between the kitchen and living room. The large, purple chairs anchoring each end of the dining table draw the eye to the expanse of windows overlooking the backyard. The concrete table top ties in nicely with the concrete pendant lights above the island.

The room’s color palette of reds, oranges and purple tones is drawn from the traditional rug the owners brought from their previous home.Perfect for a kid’s bathroom, the trough sink is functional, low maintenance and has a paintable bottom that coordinates the color with the space. The Royal Porthole Medicine Cabinet gives the room a nautical appeal while providing needed storage space due to the lack of countertops.

Clare Malloy, GRAIN ELEVATOR, pastel on rag paper, image 26 x 23 inches

Clare Malloy, GRAIN ELEVATOR, pastel on rag paper, image 26 x 23 inches

Before construction ever began, the owners of a new home in Mequon made two things very clear. The style should be modern farmhouse, and they wanted it to incorporate some of their favorite furnishings. Achieving that look started with the design of the exterior. “We broke the house up into several distinct parts so it looks like a true farmhouse, which normally have additions built over time to help the home adapt to changing needs and lifestyles. We then modernized it by adding clean lines and simple geometric shapes,” says Todd A. Rabidoux, director of architecture at Lakeside Development Company.

Inside, the open concept offers a comfortable balance of space for entertaining with an integrated kitchen, great room and dining area, while a separate office and master suite lend needed privacy for work and retreat. The difficulty of giving proper definition to individual spaces within an open floor plan is solved through a use of color, materials and light fixtures to bring attention and definition to each of the spaces.

According to interior designer Karen Kempf of Karen Kempf Interiors, part of the challenge included incorporating some of the homeowners’ traditional and Asian-style furniture and accessories into the new plan. “We found ways to freshen up the look of those pieces and have them blend into the new surroundings. For example, in the living room, the owner wanted to use a traditional-style rug she already owned. The color palette of the room and the furnishings were all chosen to complement and contrast the rug. Also, in the master bathroom and powder room, the vanities are made from converted Asian altar tables. They add an unexpected and fun element to the spaces.”

Kempf says the homeowners took design risks and were brave with their selections. “I always say, no guts, no glory, when it comes to design. That made the difference here. This could have been a very ordinary home but their gutsiness took it to another level and gives the home a look that is uniquely their own.”

Mike Noland – “Under a Cicada Moon”

The cicada in Mike Noland‘s new painting “Under a Cicada Moon” does not actually vibrate, but one can sense the energy of its tymbals under the diaphanous wings.  Noland uses bold color and repetitive, tight brush strokes to suggest the power of the natural world.  As Mike says, “Growing up in the area known as “Tornado Alley”, gave me a healthy love and respect for the power and beauty of nature.”  Michael Noland‘s paintings inform the viewer through intense patterns, controlled composition, and wondrous colors, of mother nature’s powerful essences, whether they be beautiful or dangerous.  New paintings by Mike Noland will be on view at , April 29th through May 2nd.  Mike Noland is also preparing for an exhibition of his work in the gallery planned for the fall of 2012.  Click here to see more paintings by Mike Noland.