Rafael Salas: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
a solo exhibition in two parts.
This new exhibition spans the galleries of Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and Portrait Society Gallery, with a special third venue on opening night!
March 20 – May 16 at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts.
March 20 – May 23 at Portrait Society Gallery.
Friday, March 20,
5-9 pm at both galleries,
9-11 pm at Cielito Lindo.
Spring Gallery Night Artist Talk
Friday, April 17, 7 pm.
Artist Rafael Francisco Salas explores allegorical portraiture and personal history in a new solo exhibition spanning two galleries – Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and Portrait Society Gallery. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights exemplifies a journey – traversing between two galleries to experience the multiplicity, tension and whimsy surrounding his own cultural identity and upbringing that bridges a Wisconsin sheep farm and Tejano superstar Freddy Fender.
The centerpiece of the exhibition at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts includes two figurative sculptures – a restful lamb on a pedestal and a debonair Freddy Fender figure made of straw and agricultural material. They face one another, seemingly a dichotomy but creating a narrative in their interaction.
“These works can be seen as a mother and father figure but are also influenced by religious iconography, or objects of devotion. They are also a self-portrait in parts. Freddy Fender quietly serenades the figure of the lamb, connecting the two,” explained Salas. Works surrounding the figures will also signify the exploration of the theme.
The portion at Portrait Society Gallery will present a narrative along the theme as well. An installation will create the atmosphere, symbolisms and items of nostalgia from the Mexican-American restaurant his family owned in rural Wautoma, WI, which continues the dichotomy between the rural Wisconsin and Mexican-American identities.
The two galleries will hold opening receptions simultaneously on March 20 between 5–9 pm. A post-reception event will be held at Cielito Lindo (739 S 2nd St) starting at 9:00 pm. Attendees will be given a card validating their attendance at each gallery. Both cards can be brought to the event for a chance to win prizes, which includes a framed artwork by Salas and cuts of lamb from Salas Farm, his family’s grass-fed sheep farm in Burnett, WI. The event, a communal gathering with a “meat raffle” at a Mexican restaurant, brings yet another layer for the attendees to experience the dichotomy and signifiers that prevalently runs throughout the exhibition.
Rafael Francisco Salas is a Wisconsin based painter. Using landscape along with narrative and symbolic elements, Salas creates artwork that investigates the Midwestern landscape, portraiture, architecture, abstraction, the legacy of Byzantine iconography and country music. His work has been exhibited in New York City, San Diego, Boston, as well as many venues in the Midwest including The Neville Public Museum, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, The John Kohler Arts Center, Dean Jensen Gallery, Circa Gallery, Frank Juarez Gallery and Portrait Society Gallery. Salas is also a contributing writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is an Associate Professor of Art at Ripon College in Ripon, WI.
Portrait Society Gallery (207 E. Buffalo Street, Marshall Building 5th floor) is a contemporary art gallery dedicated to the issues surrounding the genre of portraiture. Visit Portrait Society’s website: portraitsocietygallery.com.
Featured Member Exhibition: Kevin Giese
April 17 – July 11, 2015
We are proud to announce our third Featured Member Exhibition series of 2014-2015 with celebrated Wisconsin artist, assemblager, writer and art champion Gary John Gresl.
Gary would tell you himself that he likes working in large, space or site specific installations. With that said, he has graciously accepted the chance to create smaller assemblages specific to our Featured Member Exhibition space. A selection from his photography series “Document Ephemera,” which documents his previous outdoor, temporary, site specific installations, will also be on display.
Gary John Gresl, like so many other artists, traces his art interest back to childhood, though he did not began to seriously create and exhibit his works until the early 1980’s. He quickly moved through painting in styles of geometric abstraction and abstract expressionism, soon finding these directions to be dead ends without personal satisfaction. It was when he began to blend his interest in objects, specifically antiques, with his sculptural expression, that his assemblage work came to be his sole focus.
Gary likes to work large, including creating room sized site specific installations. The works here in WPCA include some small sized assemblages which he had created for specific venues, plus a couple mid sized works. There are also a few photographs of outdoor temporary site specific installations, these photos being part of a series he calls “Document Ephemera”. This outdoor work deals with considerations of the longevity and endurance of art objects, and what popular art culture expects.
Click here to learn more about Gary John Gresl and about the Featured Member Exhibition series.
2015 exhibitions are supported in part by grants from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fund, CDBG Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Arts Fund, and grants from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.