October 27 - February 19, 2017

Welcome to Forward 2016:  A Survey of Wisconsin Art, the Charles Allis Art Museum’s biennial exhibition featuring the work of Wisconsin artists. Forward is our largest exhibition at the Charles Allis, as we open our doors and gallery spaces to artists from all over Wisconsin. Our jurors always have the difficult task of selecting from hundreds of works of art, and this year was no exception: jurors Brent Budsberg and Susan Barnett reviewed 350 submissions before choosing the 60 that make up the exhibition. We are grateful for their insight and dedication, and for making Forward 2016 a success.

What makes Forward a beloved tradition at the Charles Allis is the variety of artistic mediums, techniques, and cultures that intersect in a single exhibition. Realistic or abstract, political or personal, these works become a combined narrative of the Wisconsin art scene. Forward highlights this narrative and lets the art speak for itself.

It is especially appropriate that an exhibition like this be housed at the Charles Allis. Charles and Sarah Allis dedicated their lives to the art world, and have the art collection to prove it. When they bequeathed their home to Milwaukee County, they wanted to give back to the community that had made their lives so much richer; they wanted their home to continue being enriched by art, especially from Wisconsin. ____________________________________________________________

Grand Prize: James Pederson, The Miracle in Mike's Apartment

Award of Excellence: Lois Bielefeld, Mary and Jillian - Riverwest. 2015

Award of Excellence: Kevin Giese, Murmur

Margaret Rahill Memorial Award: Rafael Salas, Two Cats (World Without End #2)

Honorable Mention: Maureen Fritchen, What Came My Way - January 2016

Director's Choice: Michael Ware, E.B.D.B.B.N.B.

Viewer's Choice: Matthew Warren Lee, The Tempest

Selected Artists:
Timothy Abler, Lois Bielefeld, Larry Booth, Cynthia Brinich-Langlois, Jim Brozek, Valerie Christell, CathyJean CLark, Martha Coaty, Brandi Collins, Stephanie Copoulos-Selle, Eddee Daniel, Maureen Fritchen, Kevin Giese, Patricia Hidson, Andrea Hudson, Kitty Kingston, Eric Koester, Philip Krejcarek, Susan Estelle Kwas, Karla Lauden, Guntis Lauzums, Matthew Lee, J. Myszka Lewis, Valerie Mangion, Lindsay Marx, Jeanne Nikolai Olivieri, Josie Osborne, James Pederson, Nirmal Raja, Vicki Reed, Sara Risley, Janet Roberts. Kerri Root, Katie Ryan, Rafael Salas, Lawrence Sanders, Eric Schoen, Marc Tasman, Jason Van Roo, Arthur Vannoy, Michael Ware, Kiefer Waterman, Rochelle Weiner, Charles Wickler, Sara Willadsen, Ryan Woolgar


About the Jurors:

SUSAN BARNETT's titles include art center director, business owner, gallerist, photographer, and curator. She earned a BA in fine art-printmaking from Montana State University and received her MA in art history from UW-Milwaukee in 2011. Since moving to Milwaukee in 2003, she directed the Cedarburg Cultural Center, coordinated the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Arts/Industry 40-year exhibition and publication, and served on the board of CoPA Milwaukee. Recent projects include co-curating and writing for the Portrait Society Gallery's 2015 Wis.Con.Sin exhibition and writing Roy Staab: Suspended in Time in conjunction with his 2016 exhibition at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. She currently works as an independent curator and writer and manages a significant private collection.

BRENT BUDSBERG is a visual artist, designer and woodworker living in Milwaukee, WI. Since 2013 he has worked as an exhibition designer in collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation, the Haggerty Museum, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Lynden Sculpture Garden. He has also taught sculpture, woodworking and travel study courses at The Milwuakee Institiute of Art and Design. Together with his wife and collaborator, Shana McCaw, he won the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for Individual Artists in the established category in 2008 and also in 2014. Recent exhibitions include Living Rooms at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, The Museum of Rooms at the Chipstone Foundation, and The Vanishing Point at Portrait Society Gallery.



Carlos Heromsilla Álverez & Colin Matthes:
Echoing Concerns


March 16 - June 25, 2017

Opening Reception
Thursday March 16, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
With a talk by Echoing Concerns Catalog Essayist Christopher Willey at 7:00 p.m.

Carlos Hermosilla Álvarez and Colin Matthes: Echoing Concerns features the work of two artists working in distant eras, but toward similar goals of drawing attention to societal injustices they witness every day.

Hermosilla was an active artist and humanitarian who overcame enormous personal and physical obstacles to become known as “the father of Chilean realist printmaking.” He established the Printing and Drawing Department at the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar, Chile, where he was a Professor of Art for approximately 35 years until his resignation following the military coup in 1973. Together with his wife Marina Pinto, herself a sculptor and printmaker,Hermosilla continued to work as an artist and a writer, often writing poetry to accompany his drawings, woodcuts, etchings, and paintings.

Carlos Hermosilla Álvarez was an effective agent of change in the Chilean art community where he sought to shift the focus of Chilean art from subjects that appealed to elite tastes to a concern for working class people and populations considered to be “outsiders.” His subjects include fishermen, construction workers, mothers, miners, and also the Mapuche Indians, a population of native Chilean people who managed to elude the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s. The Mapuche remain distanced from Chilean society, and their culture and ancestral lands are still in peril in the twenty-first century.

Like Hermosilla, Colin Matthes, a Milwaukee-based artist, makes interdisciplinary work that addresses economic and environmental crisis. He uses bold drawn, painted, and printed imagery that mirrors his environment while also inciting awareness of current socio-political causes. Though his content is often serious, Matthes considers himself an “engineer of the absurd” who investigates today’s issues from a humorous, critical, and perversely industrious point of view.

About his upbringing, Colin Matthes says:

“I grew up in an old farmhouse a mile away from a village with three bars, a post office, and the world’s greatest junk parade. Installing temporary electrical wiring at small town county fairs and trailer parks, punk and zines formed the way I make things and view the world. Lately I’ve been bringing my infant daughter too close to bears, making graphics for activist campaigns, working a slew of jobs, and visualizing my own versions of ‘essential knowledge’.”

Matthes examines printmaking as a democratized art form that was once preferred as a means of easily and economically duplicating and disseminating images to the public. Though his work references these goals of traditional printmaking, he deftly combines media to address a contemporary tendency toward pastiche and bricolage; a layering of imagery that is a realistic representation of the ways we digest content today.

Together, Matthes and Hermosilla open a fresh dialogue with traditional printmaking as a longstanding method of distributing ideas historically rooted in political movements. Though the two are distanced by nearly sixty years, the similarities in their depictions of humanity and the ways we live, suffer, and achieve give us pause to wonder if we’ve come as far as we would like to think.

We thank Milwaukeean Liliana Hermosilla Rosenthal and her family for loaning her uncle Carlos’ work to this exhibition.


with artist Colin Matthes
Thursday, April 20, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Total Essential Knowledge:
A Collaborative Graphic Communication Archive

No one is an expert in everything and everyone is an expert in something. One part workshop, one part conversation, as we share stories and learn from each other we will make drawings that archive our essential knowledge. (Fee for participants.)

Artist’s Talk with Colin Matthes
Saturday, May 6, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Upcoming with Liliana Hermosilla Rosenthal and Joel Rosenthal
Date TBA

Liliana Hermosilla Rosenthal and Joel Rosenthal will host a presentation focused on Carlos Hermosilla Álvarez, 'the father of Chilean realist printmaking,' his life, art, poetry and his contributions to the culture of Chile and abroad.