Is/Isn’t
April 16th- May 29th, 2021
Opening Reception April 16th @ 6pm-8pm

Milwaukee artists Kate E. Schaffer and Zina Mussmann investigate the traditions of abstract painting, and infuse their work with observations into long held art practices.

Dichotomies are central to the politics of attention. Contemporary American culture frames existence through oppositions, through “either/ors.” Concepts such as male/female, black/white, gay/straight accentuate difference and perpetuate otherness. Artists Zina Mussmann and Kate E. Schaffer redirect and focus on gray areas in order to expose the artificial, constructed theater of reality.

Is/Isnt is a collaborative exhibition that explores perception and materiality by questioning what painting is/isnt. Through abstraction, mark-making, construction, and deconstruction, Mussmann and Schaffer manipulate materials to simultaneously create illusion and interrogate surface. Using traditional and alternative processes, Mussmann and Schaffer examine the language of painting; what it is, what it isnt and what we often overlook it to be.

Zina Mussmann received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2002 and an MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2008. She has exhibited her work regionally and nationally, and her work has been featured in various publications such as the Manifest International Painting Annual, The Alchemy Magazine of Literature and Art and Lunch Ticket Magazine. She is also the co-founder of Greymatter Gallery, an artist-run space she established and co-directed with Rachel Quirk from 2011-2017, the co- founder and curator of an online project called 365 Artists 365 Days, and a faculty member at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Kate E. Schaffer received a BS in 2006 from Martin Luther College and an MFA in 2016 from the  School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a Milwaukee artist working at the nexus of feminism, queer theory, and Abstractionist Aesthetics. Her paintings, installations, performances, and writings, explore the fixity and possibility of time and space. Schaffer holds concurrent positions at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Mount Mary University and teaches in Milwaukee Public Schools where she encourages students of all ages to consider the possibilities the world holds for them. She is the founder of 3rdCoast4thWave. Schaffer has exhibited her work in local, regional and national exhibits.

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