Behind the Scenes with exh-IB-ition

By: Rachel Hausmann Schall, curator of education on April 27th, 2022

It’s no secret that putting together a museum exhibition takes thoughtful planning, organizing, and time management. Students participating in Wausau East High School’s IB (International Baccalaureate) Art Program coordinated by department chair Joel Pataconi experienced the process this year.

Installation view of the lower level gallery featuring Wausau East High School International Baccalaureate student work. Paintings and drawings featuring an array of figural work hang on the gallery walls. Two pedestals feature three-dimensional work in the space.

The gallery adjacent to Art Park featuring artwork from 2022 Wausau East High School International Baccalaureate students Marah Gibbs, Emily Hahn, and Anneliese Menning in exh-IB-ition.

Starting in January, fellow Museum staff members Catie Anderson, Matt Foss, Shannon Pueschner, and I partnered with Wausau East students Nathan Contreras, Marah Gibbs, Emily Hahn, Nora Imhoff, and Anneliese Menning. We assisted the students as they edited their curatorial rationale statements, artwork labels, and selected their individual artworks to coordinate the presentation of exh-IB-ition, on view now in the Museum’s gallery adjacent to Art Park through June 2.

 

A high school student stands with a hand over his mouth, contemplating the paintings that surround him on the floor. He is preparing to place and hang artwork in the gallery space.

Nathan Contreras contemplates the placement of his artwork in exh-IB-ition.

A three dimensional mixed media artwork depicting a face and hand holding a flower sits atop a pedestal in the gallery. Near the sculptural work are four artworks hanging on the wall. One features a dancing couple on red background. Above the couple are two hands holding strings, as if controlling the people dancing like puppets.

exh-IB-ition installation view featuring artwork by Nathan Contreras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our collaboration with Wausau East IB students began during the 2016-2017 school year and quickly became a beneficial partnership. Each year, our staff provides guidance to students, assisting with curating their artwork in a space, just one of the many submission requirements for the IB program. The Museum is eager to continue this rewarding collaboration, now entering its sixth year. Join us on Thursday, June 2, 5:30-6:30 pm to hear more from the students during exh-IB-ition Artist Presentations, when each artist will share insights into their artwork portfolio, inspirations, and processes.

Four large, colorful panels hang on the wall in the center of the image. Each panel contains 30 prints of water bottles. The panels are flanked by paintings on either side and a pedestal holds two three-dimensional artworks in the foreground of the image.

exh-IB-ition installation view featuring artwork by Emily Hahn and Nora Imhoff.

Each year, this program brings a new batch of students creating artwork with different themes. This year, the students explored anthropomorphism, life and death, childhood emotions, identity, and global political topics. Anneliese Menning utilizes a variety of mediums, ranging from digitally rendered comics and hand-painted carnival cut-outs to an abundantly filled sketchbook spread. In contrast, Emily Hahn and Marah Gibbs employ more traditional mediums like graphite, watercolor, and oil or acrylic paint to depict close relationships with family. Nora Imhoff’s body of work takes inspiration from the notable Pop artist Andy Warhol. Her bright, bold color palette and use of text does not go unnoticed in the gallery. Nathan Contreras’ figural work is illuminated with intense contrast and saturated colors across two- and three-dimensional pieces.

Seven paintings showing various figures and portraits hang on the gallery wall. The largest painting depicts a skeleton figure on a black background facing away from the viewer. The skeleton holds up its right hand and flowers adorn its bones.

Installation view of exh-IB-ition featuring artwork by Emily Hahn.

Four drawings and paintings depicting children hang on the gallery wall. A monochromatic drawing of a young girl with a surprised expression hangs to the left of a painting created on cardboard depicting three children playing in a moving box.

exh-IB-ition installation view featuring artwork by Marah Gibbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the center of the image is a large scale, free-standing painting on plywood with three figures in detailed costuming. To the left of the painting hangs a TV screen, scrolling through an illustrated comic. On the other side of the large painting is a movable wall in a zig-zag pattern displaying other two-dimensional work.

Installation view of exh-IB-ition featuring work of Anneliese Menning.

Matt, Catie, Shannon and I served as mentors throughout the process of organizing exh-IB-ition, but the IB students deserve high praises. This showcase emphasizes the development of their comprehensive, challenging, and thought-provoking artworks and demonstrates the knowledge they gained putting together a successful museum exhibition.

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