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Past Exhibitions

Making the Cut: Relief Prints from the Woodson Art Museum’s Collection

December 4, 2021 – February 27, 2022
As printmaking evolved, artists expanded relief-printing methods in new and innovative ways. Making the Cut examines the processes, tools, and techniques used to create relief prints. In his single-color woodcut Owl, Leonard Baskin used nothing more than surface grain to create background texture and space. Sherrie York’s complex multi-color reduction linocut Cruisin’ masterfully depicts a pelican moving through abstract water reflections. Complementing American Woodblock Prints, Making the Cut showcases a range of relief-print possibilities.

What Might You Do? The Art of Christian Robinson

December 4, 2021 – February 27, 2022
The playful, yet thoughtfully poignant artwork of children’s book illustrator Christian Robinson, celebrates his “art of fun” mantra while deftly and empathetically exploring the value of different perspectives and being kind to all. Robinson, a Caldecott Honoree and recipient of two Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors from the American Library Association, favors acrylic and collage to create joyful art conveying a range of stories, including historical events and biographies. Robinson, based in California, is also an animator who has worked with The Sesame Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios. This exhibition of Robinson’s luminous illustrations was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

Birding by the Book

Birding by the Book comprises illustrated bound volumes along with framed, hand-colored engravings by early explorers, artists, and naturalists, including Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, and John and Elizabeth Gould.

Birds in Art 2021

September 11 – November 28, 2021
From their lyrical birdsong to their migratory patterns, birds connect us to the rhythms of life. For the 46th year, this annual exhibition attracts worldwide artists’ original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the past three years. Since 1976, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum has organized Birds in Art annually, seeking to present the best contemporary artistic interpretations of avian themes.

Handstitched Worlds: The Cartography of Quilts

June 12 – August 29, 2021
Quilts are a narrative art form, featuring themes that are political, spiritual, communal, and commemorative. Infused with history and memory, quilts map out intimate stories and legacies through a handcrafted language of design.

Pacific Quilt

June 12 – August 29, 2021
A giant, map-like quilt, created by Sarah FitzSimons, a University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Department faculty artist, features varying shades of blue fabric to convey the Pacific Ocean’s underwater topography and sewn lines depicting surface currents. FitzSimons notes other commonalities: “Both water and fabric flow. Both cover. Both can conceal, reveal, and shift. Pacific Quilt proposes a link between our daily cycle of sleeping and waking, with the rise and fall of ocean tides.”

Avian Celebrations

Birds make us happy. We admire their beauty and diversity and envy their ability to soar and fly. Acute observers, artists strive to capture the essence of of their subjects and interpret birdlife through intense study and observation, photography, and sketching, often spending hours in the field before taking to the studio. Celebrating avian life and the artists who share their talents, this exhibition of artwork from the Museum’s collection focuses on five themes:

  • Day at the Beach
  • Ducking Out
  • Enchanted Evening
  • Follow the Line
  • In the Pink

Beyond Artworks: Artists & Their Stories

March 6 – June 6, 2021
Artworks from the collection share the spotlight with stories about why and how they were created by artists and acquired by the Woodson Art Museum. Discover the tale and trace the trail that led to the acquisition of a rare oil painting by John James Audubon and a hand-colored aquatint created for Audubon’s The Birds of America.
Anecdotes about noteworthy owners and personal relationships are woven throughout other stories. A watercolor painting by Frank Weston Benson, Chickadees, which had been owned by poet Robert Frost, became the perfect way to honor a member of the Museum’s founding family, fondly remembered for wearing a chickadee-embroidered sweater.
Experience artwork by three generations of Wyeth painters, N.C., Andrew, and Jamie, comparing and contrasting their distinct styles and gaining insights into their inspiration and work.

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