Wausau, Wisconsin: An array of fresh perspectives and artistic insights by more than 100 worldwide artists comprises the internationally renowned 2016 “Birds in Art” exhibition, on view September 10 through November 27 at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
The 2016 exhibition presents artworks by 112 artists in total: 2016 Master Artist Karen Bondarchuk, 20 who have been named Master Artists during previous “Birds in Art” exhibitions, and 91 artists whose work was selected by three jurors who reviewed 918 entries submitted by 581 artists.
Innovative artistic approaches capture intriguing aspects of the essence, gestures, and surroundings of myriad birds. Chris Maynard, Washington, elegantly portrays a flock of dunlins carved from turkey feathers. Wisconsin artist S.V. Medaris depicts a rebel rooster who invaded her peaceful flock – for a time – in an oversized, hand-colored linocut titled “Chicken Pot Pie.” German artist Eugen Kisselmann hints at the presence of a grey heron via his oil painting of footprints in smooth sand. All-new artwork features dynamic and contemplative interpretations of avian marvels via original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the last three years.
The 2016 edition of the Woodson Art Museum’s flagship exhibition “continues to delight and engage audiences of wide-ranging interests,” said Woodson Art Museum director Kathy Kelsey Foley. “With the ascension of Karen Bondarchuk as the 2016 Master Artist, ‘Birds in Art’ takes another leap forward. An enormously talented, academically trained artist, Karen works in multiple mediums – charcoal, graphite, ink, pastel, scavenged rubber tire scraps – and brings to her work an intellectual thoughtfulness and enlightened respect for mankind’s relationship to birds.”
Bondarchuk, whose work encompasses sculpture and drawing, creates large-scale charcoal portraits of ravens, crows, and owls along with larger-than-life three-dimensional corvids using highway-salvaged rubber tires. Her vast body of work, rooted in an academic tradition, pursues varied inquiries and often is infused with multilayered metaphors. Her charcoal drawings of corvids explore questions about language and animal-human communication and her tire-scrap sculptures highlight salient environmental concerns.
In 2014, Bondarchuk embarked on a yearlong, mixed-media project, “Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day” – an homage to her mother, who has advanced dementia – as a way to mark a time frame her mother could no longer recognize and serving as a reminder of the preciousness of each day. “Ergo Sum,” in its entirety, and a selection of 16 additional two- and three-dimensional works comprise the 2016 Master Artist exhibition.
This year’s “Birds in Art” exhibition includes 33 international artists, seven from Wisconsin, and 10 first-time “Birds in Art” artists. The seven Wisconsin artists are Craig Blietz, Sister Bay; Gary Eigenberger, Green Bay; Kevin Kohlman, LaCrosse; S.V. Medaris, Mount Horeb; Don Rambadt, Milwaukee; Gene Reineking, Almond; and Todd Wohlt (1968-2016), of Appleton.
The three jurors for the 2016 “Birds in Art” exhibition were Mindy Moak, principal of MME Fine Arts, New York City; Michael Panhorst, curator of art at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama; and Graeme Reid, director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend.
Opening day, Saturday, September 10, provides varied opportunities to interact with about 60 “Birds in Art” artists visiting from throughout the world for opening-day festivities. Birds in Art opening weekend festivities are part of Wausau’s Artrageous Weekend, a four-event art extravaganza held each year the weekend after Labor Day.
Opening Day Festivities, Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. [Note: the Museum remains open until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, and is open from 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 11.]
- The Museum opens at 9 a.m.; meet and mingle with the artists, 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m., and get catalogues and posters signed.
- “Birds in Art” Master Artist Karen Bondarchuk provides insights into her process and inspiration during her presentation, 9:30-10:30 a.m., in the sculpture garden.
- Artists in Action demonstrate various mediums and explain techniques, 10:45 a.m.-Noon, in the sculpture garden.
Programs throughout the fall will bring to life “Birds in Art” themes, artistic styles, and techniques. Three “Birds in Art” artists will lead public programs during separate artist residencies this fall: Sean Murtha, October 4-8; Timothy David Mayhew, October 20-23; and Gene Reineking, November 8-13. For details, check the events calendar at www.lywam.org/events-calendar/ after mid-August.
A 132-page full-color, illustrated “Birds in Art” catalogue featuring every artwork along with artists’ statements and an essay about Bondarchuk will be available for purchase in September. Preorder catalogues now at www.lywam.org/exhibitions/catalogues/.
Each year, 60 “Birds in Art” artworks are selected for a subsequent tour to locations throughout the country; the 2016 tour venues are: Museum of York County, Rock Hill, South Carolina, December 17, 2016 – April 9, 2017; Wichita Falls Museum of Art, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, April 28 – June 25, 2017; Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, Jamestown, New York, July 15 – August 27, 2017; Rockport Center for the Arts, Rockport, Texas, September 15 – November 18, 2017; Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, California, December 8, 2017 – January 25, 2018.
For more information about Birds in Art and Wausau’s Artrageous weekend see this link, courtesy of American Art Collector magazine, to a September 2016 feature article.
Woodson Art Museum
First Thurs each month 9am–7:30pm
Thurs during Birds in Art 9am–7:30pm
Closed Mon & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas
Admission: Always Free Admission
Location: Franklin and 12th Streets, Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007
(700 N. Twelfth Street)
2016 Birds in Art
|Fran A.H. Alvarado|
|Ray C. Brown, Jr.|
|Mary A. Cornish|
|Janet Tarjan Erl|
|Anne Senechal Faust|
|Ryan D. Jacque|
|Elwin van der Kolk|
|T. Allen Lawson|
|Walter T. Matia|
|Timothy David Mayhew|
|Lucinda Kate McEachern|
|John T. Sharp|
|Allison Leigh Smith|
|Barry Van Dusen|
|Dale A. Weiler|