This Unknown Exhibition Reception at the Frank Juarez Gallery

Last night we had our reception for Zina & Rachel at the gallery. Considering it was Easter weekend and the Badgers playing in the Final Four we had a good turnout and a great time.

About This Unknown Exhibition

It is a paradox that in a time where there is instant and unequalled access to information there is also ever-increasing uncertainty and angst. Answers only lead to more questions, and there are always unknowable realities that seem to remain just beyond human comprehension. In this exhibition, Zina Mussmann and Rachel Quirk consider these areas of vagueness and ambiguity.  Through mixed media works the artists embrace absurdity, and urge the viewer on into this unknown. 

Exhibition ends May 2, 2015. 

To see more photos click here. 

Frank Juarez presents in New Orleans on the 365 Artists 365 Days Project

photo by Irma Roman

photo by Irma Roman

Frank Juarez will be presenting at the 2015 National Art Education Association National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. His presentation titled, “Connecting Visual Literacy with Textual Literacy”.

This presentation is designed to expose, educate and engage student learners into the world of contemporary art practices found throughout the United States and beyond. Interconnecting the Gradual Release and Responsibility Model and the 365 Artists 365 Days Project into the curriculum presents art students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to read and connect visual literacy to textual literacy with a variety of artistic styles and genres. Through collaborative works they will point out the main idea and details of the artists’ work with specific examples that exists within specific genres, which will compliment the teacher’s current project. As a result, they will develop a platform that enables them to delve into the creative process with the outcome being influenced with ideas based on originality, creativity and individualism.

Here is a gallery of images from the Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

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Wisconsin Visual Artists Abstract Show Reception Photos

Photos by high school gallery intern, Ashley Wilson. 

The Wisconsin Visual Artists Juried Abstract Show is currently on display at the Frank Juarez Gallery. Gallery is open on Saturdays from 10am – 4pm. Ends March 21, 2015. 


Wisconsin Visual Artists Juried Abstract Show at the Frank Juarez Gallery


To view more reception photos and to see the work currently on exhibit at FJG click here. 

Artist Spotlight: Sara Willadsen

Written by Lybra Olbrantz

Sara Willadsen is currently showing at the Frank Juarez Gallery. Her work is part of the Wisconsin Visual Artists Juried Abstract Show. Ends March 21, 2015. 

Lybra Olbrantz: Please introduce yourself and tell us about the piece on display in the gallery today and what inspires you.

Sara Willadsen: My name is Sara Willadsen. My piece is entitled, Middle Ground and was inspired by this scarf that I had found at a thrift store. This patterned scarf had been laying around my studio for probably half a year. One day I saw it next to a bunch of this collage material that I had just laser cut. I saw the color combination of the yellow grid next to the blue scarf and it really inspired me. I wanted to somehow use it in a piece. I decided to make a structure, like a house shape, somehow using these two materials. I also wanted to incorporate some kind of paint to tone down that pattern so that it wasn’t completely overwhelming, to create some sort of focal point in the middle of the piece. So I drew around the scarf and filled the entire thing in with the grey paint.


Middle Ground ,Mixed Media ,26” x 26”

LO: How did you first get involved with art?

SW: My first experiences with art, actually, I was very young. I’ve always been a very restless person. My mom would always arrange these little craft times with me and my brother and that kind of led me into keeping busy and making these visual things. As I got into middle school and high school, high school especially, I took as many art classes as I could, really focusing on learning all different kinds of techniques: film photography, jewelry making, printmaking, anything that the school offered. I kept going with art into undergrad with studio art and graphic design and then got into grad school with painting.

LO: With everything you’ve studied then, what made you decide to go with the medium you go with now?

SW: I think I really focused on the medium that I work with because for me it’s really easy to work with. I like to work intuitively and using paint and different drawing mediums and collages as well, it’s something I can rearrange really quickly and get those thoughts and ideas out as quickly as possible. I’m from the belief that if you keep working with one thing you can really overwork it. I’ve killed a lot of pieces, so that’s really why I use that medium. I can work as quick as I need to, or as slow as I need to, but usually I’m on the quicker side.

LO: Where do you foresee your art going from here?

SW: I can see my art getting larger, depending on future spaces I have to work with, studio wise, but I can see my work getting larger.

LO: Do you mean spatially larger or larger in popularity?

SW: Yes, physically larger, but the other hopefully as well! I can see incorporating even more found materials. Like actual found physical objects, ones that hang on the wall or take up more space in the gallery. I’ve also been thinking about doing site specific pieces as well.

LO: What do you mean by that?

SW: Site specific as in, I don’t know, the ideas that I have are for pieces that wouldn’t really last very long, but they’d be set-up, or installed in very specific places, not in the gallery, but way outside the gallery.

LO: Like street art, you mean?

SW: Kind-of like that. I’m thinking it would be incorporated more with its surroundings, so maybe not street art so much as just being on a wall, kind of incorporating it into objects it’s around. It’s kind of in a vague stage right now. So it’s hard it describe. Very early stages, but it’s something that’s been on my mind.

LO: You said you wanted to do residencies abroad though?

SW: Yes! I’m trying to do some sort of residency abroad, since I do work with all raw materials I’m interested in going to a new place and finding new materials there, whether it’s more two dimensional stuff, like stuff I find on the streets, or in stores, or things that are given to me, or even actual objects and then incorporating that into my work and then seeing how being in a new place can sort of guide my work.

LO: How do you think that experience will change you as an artist, or help you grow, or do you think you art will be really affected by what’s going to happen?

SW: I think that my art will definitely be affected. It’ll definitely shift with where I am and the location I’m working. My work is always going to be about aesthetics, that’s always the big thing. I’m always very focused on what it looks like color wise, compositionally. I think it’ll really change with the objects I use, the different patterns, also the type of architecture too, with being in Sheboygan I really take note of and use some of those same patterns I see here in my work, so that’s something that would definitely change in my work with going somewhere else.

LO: So architecture inspires some of your pieces?

SW: Yep!

LO: Oh that’s cool! That’s interesting to me because different people are inspired by different things, so how would you say architecture inspires your art?

SW: I’m very into clean lines, straight lines as well, straight-clean lines, sort of those shapes that reference a structure, or some sort of structure, or house, or some kind of building. I’ve always been really drawn to that type of imagery because when I was in undergrad I did a lot of landscape paintings around Sheboygan county and as I’ve been painting more and working more on my art it’s really progressed to this very abstracted landscape, it’s still some type of space, but it’s definitely more invented now than representational.

LO: The thing that I noticed about this piece that I like, it’s very geometrical, that seems to be very popular in art right now. It’s an aesthetic that I’m really drawn to.

SW: Yeah, that fractured look!

LO: Yeah, shapes and lines, is that something that is very prominent in your art or is it something that you may want to stick to as far as your art goes, or is it just piece specific because you were attracted to that pattern?

SW: A lot of my other pieces aren’t as straight forward as that piece. There’s some of those elements but some of those aren’t simply just a shape that’s sort of outlined. That’s something that I do like to think about when I’m working on drawings and mixed media work. I do also try to stay away from it at times because I don’t want to rely on those kinds of shapes all the time. I like to make rules for myself, if I could I would probably use the color teal in everything because I love the color teal, so sometimes I make the rule for myself: whatever you’re thinking of doing, do the opposite, so sometimes I stray away from doing those geometric, fractured shapes and try to have softer shapes, something to switch it up and keep me engaged.

LO: Where do you foresee your art going from here? Do you think you’ll stay in this area or open your own gallery?

SW: I’m kind of at that stage right now where I am able to travel wherever, I don’t have anything tying me down. I really foresee myself traveling and ideally working on my art while doing that. Jobwise, I think about teaching sometimes because I enjoy doing that, or even being a studio assistant would be something I’d love to do. Those types of opportunities aren’t really prevalent in Wisconsin, it’s more like I’d have to go to LA or New York or somewhere else abroad, but right now I’m kind of up in the air with where to go.

LO: Do you have an ideal location as to where you’d like to go?

SW: Definitely somewhere in Europe!

For more information and to see more work by Sara Willadsen click here. 

Artist Spotlight: Bonnie de Arteaga

Written by Lybra Olbrantz.

Bonnie de Arteaga is currently showing her work at the Frank Juarez Gallery. It is part of the Wisconsin Visual Artists Juried Abstract Show. Ends March 21, 2015. 

Lybra Olbrantz: Please introduce yourself and tell us about the piece on display in the Frank Juarez Gallery today and what inspires you. 


Photo by Ashley Wilson

Bonnie De Arteaga: Hi, my name is Bonnie de Arteaga. My piece is called Tangencies. It’s a mixed media piece based on three wood cuts, mixed media, collage and pastel. This piece is fairly, purely abstract, non-objective. What inspires me is the sky phenomenon and the cosmos, things that swirl, circles and arcs in the sky, so that’s where some of my imagery comes from. Ever since I was little, before I was even in high school, I was always fascinated with everything Japanese. I had little sumi ink sticks and Japanese brushes that I practiced making bamboo leaves, so I’ve always worked with brush and ink, and that’s the basis for a lot of my wood cuts. I’ll make brush shapes for a lot of my patterns and then scan them into the computer, blow them up and then transfer them to the blocks of wood and then carve them in their finest detail and print them from there. I never know how the work is going to come out, I make several blocks and then I print them on top of each other in different ways until I find a combination that I like.

LO: I like the format that you use. When you were introducing your piece in the gallery, you said, “I know I’m not supposed to do this, but I wanted to see how it turns out!”

BDA: Oh yeah, I like to print light colors over dark colors because it gives you a completely different feel. It’s against the rules, but it works out.

LO: You said that the title of your piece is ‘Tangencies’, how did you come up with that title?

BDA: Well, I’m very influenced by the Asian abstractionists from the 70’s and so there’s a lot of white space, a lot of tension, a lot of negative spaces. That’s the kind of thing that I like to work with so that forms are just touching or intersecting in ways that have subtle relationships and that’s why I called it Tangencies because a tangent means something that’s barely in conjunction with something else.

LO: I like the way that you described it, my favorite part of the piece are the blue arcs you created with the pastel, I thought it just added to the aesthetic of the piece overall.

BDA: Thank you!

LO: You’re welcome! So, how did you first get involved with art?

BDA: Oh man, I once did a print about this and wrote a poem about it. When I was a kid I was compelled at age four. I know I was only four years old and I had to draw. I had to even get a broken pencil and dig into the watercolors and scratch onto some short cardboard or something and draw. So I always knew that was what I wanted to do. My undergraduate degree is in Art Education, but I didn’t teach, I went into graphic design, public relations, marketing, all of the creative sides of business and then when I had a chance to retire and do art work full time I took advantage of that and started my studio.

Tangencies, 32x40"

Image courtesy of the artist. Tangencies, 32×40″.

LO: Do you have a studio? Or your own space?

BDA: I don’t have a studio right now, but I work in Green Bay. I take advantage of opportunities to use the facilities at UW-Green Bay and at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Artisan and Business Center; that’s a big mouth-full for a nice place where they have open studios where you can do jewelry making, clay, fiber arts, and now printmaking.

LO: Are most of your pieces similar to ‘Tangencies’? I was talking to Sara Willadsen before you and I contrasted your two pieces to each other because both pieces have a certain geometric feel. This seems to be very popular right now, the geometry or mathematical art, I would say.

BDA: Like working from a grid?

LO: Yeah!

BDA: I’m taking a class right now where the teacher is having us organize our page in the form of a grid and it doesn’t have to be where you draw squares on the page, although we started out that way. Actually, if you’re a graphic artist you do this all the time, often unconsciously, where you have a page format, where it’s a grid of a page and you put the text in columns and the pictures within these boundaries and you don’t see the boundaries, but you know they’re there from page to page and that you’re going to have consistency. So anyone that’s worked with graphic design of any kind is going to bring some of that to their art work.

LO: Two things that interested me from what you said earlier, you said you’re inspired by the cosmos and that’s what inspires you to do the spirals and that you’re also inspired by Japanese art, how did you discover that those two things are what inspired you most and how did you decide to combine the two?

BDA: Well, I work with brush and ink and I like black and white –the sharpness of it, the wonderful marks of the brush and putting those together in different ways. Then some time ago –and this is only one piece from a series of woodcuts that I’ve made and I have maybe 10 or 12 that are the same size and similar formats and I do other things, like sculpture and other kinds of printmaking but this was a dominant series for a long time and how that came about was that I was working on these brush stroke things and it was kind of abstract black things. I found a book called “The Celtic Cross” and Celtic crosses are crosses shown with a circle around the intersection of the cross. This book was printed in the UK and one of the theories that they proposed was that these artists saw phenomena in the sky and sun dogs and what’s called ‘perihelia’ which are circles around the sun that are caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere. I thought that was fascinating! I looked them up and found a program online where you can make perihelia effects by changing the shape of ice crystals and somebody figured this out by the way the light reflects on it. You can make these different arcs and sometimes there are these arcs that go up and down in conjunction with these circles and I was drawing all types of arcs and circles and doing all this stuff, learning about sky phenomena, so that’s where that came from.

LO: That sounds really beautiful! Where did the Japanese influence come in then?

BDA: Well, the Japanese influence comes in that it’s impressionistic, it’s big strokes, it’s bold, a lot of black and white, a lot of organic shapes that float on the page, like the Asian expressionists from the 70’s and just the fact that it always looks like a brush stroke, in fact I’ve had Asian artists who work with brush ink ask me if my prints are actually paintings.

LO: Initially I thought it was a painting! My friend and I thought you painted the background and then collaged your own prints over the top. It mirrors a collage put over a painting and when you said it was wood cut I was like, “WHAT?” I was surprised!

BDA: Well, it started out as a painting and then it was carved very carefully to maintain that fresh brush stroke quality.

LO: How long have you been doing the wood cut then?

BDA: Oh, I always loved printmaking, I loved the smell of new books and the inks. When I was in high school I was very lucky to have a professional artist who was our teacher and he was a printmaker and did etching. He inspired me and I did woodcuts in high school and I always did like that process. I took a lot of printmaking in college.

LO: So do a lot of your pieces incorporate the wood cut or are most of them woodcuts?

BDA: Actually, they do, in fact my encaustic paintings which have collages of some of my prints in them I have a whole series where I’ve incorporated pigeons that kind of have attitudes and each of the pigeons are drawings that I’ve cut into the wood and printed on mulberry paper which is kind of transparent. I cut them out, dip them in wax, actually fix them and then embed them into the encaustic paintings.

LO: That’s a really cool process! I like how you experiment with everything!

BDA: I do! It’s gotta be fun!

LO: Yeah, you don’t go by the normal play-by-the-book, you want to experiment!

BDA: Yeah, just painting is boring. BOR-ING.

LO: Where do you foresee your art going from here?

BDA: Oh man, I was just talking with Larry Basky about how we’re not getting any younger but there’s still lots of art that has to be made. Right now, I’m pushing my encaustic work and trying to work a bit looser. It’s controlled and there are lots of tight little shapes, so I’m trying to let myself loosen up with that. When I started my studio my biggest fear was that I would have all this equipment and I wouldn’t have any ideas and that was the dumbest fear that anyone can have because there are always more ideas!

LO: It’s true!

BDA: And artists never have to retire, they can work forever. They can die with their boots on.

LO: I think the interesting thing with creativity is that it’s always ebbing and flowing. There are moments where you’re completely inspired. You’re living in that moment for a month or two or six months or a year or a couple years and it’s like you just needed something to come out of you and once it comes out of you it’s like, oh wow, I created all this stuff and I didn’t even realize I was doing it because you’re so into it in those moments and then there’s this lull period where you’re finding the next thing.

BDA: Yeah, the ideas are just percolating back there and I do find that I get ideas or I’ll write a poem and it’ll just percolate in the back of my mind for a while and then finally it’ll come out, sometimes years later, but that’s okay.

LO: Yeah, I’ve have ideas too that pop into my head and I think, ‘yeah, maybe in a couple years, if something comes along that has to do with it’. It all comes out at the right time.

BDA: Yeah, some of them come to you full blown and you can just see the whole finished piece and you can just do it and other things you’ve got this image, you know you’ve got this bird and you’re going through it in your mind, you’re kind of redrawing it and it’s just kind of like, ‘well…’, and then there’s the quandary of ‘okay, I have this idea but what’s the best way to express it?’ Is this going to be a print series? Should it be a painting? Is this going to be a charcoal drawing? Am I going to go out and do some photographs of this subject or idea I have? It’s like the more media you work with the more ways you have to choose to express what you have to express.

LO: Exactly! You said you do poetry also?

BDA: Once in awhile.

LO: Do you ever incorporate the poems into the art?

BDA: Absolutely! Sometimes they go right on the print, or they inspire the print and they go along with it, oh definitely.

For more information and to see more works from Bonnie de Arteaga, please click here.


Frank Juarez Gallery welcomes Ashley Wilson and Lybra Ray

The Frank Juarez Gallery is pleased to welcome Ashley Wilson and Lybra Ray to the gallery. Ashley is the gallery’s fifth high school gallery intern and Lybra will be writing and interviewing for the gallery. 

IMG_0281Ashley is a junior at Sheboygan North. She has been taking art since her freshman year with Mr. Juarez and she plans to become an art major in college. Ever since first grade she had a strong liking to art. She looks forward to being exposed to different media and styles of art. Her goals for the future are to work at Pixar Studios as a studio artist or to become a professional tattoo artist. Other than making art, she also enjoys playing the clarinet, runs track, cross country, and manages the Sheboygan Red Raider’s Boys Hockey Team. 

Lybra Ray Headshot

Lybra Ray spent her childhood growing up in Milwaukee, WI, living through her imagination where she delved into self-expression through art. She always thought her art would be a collaboration of paint and collage. It wasn’t until February 2013 when she was exploring the Montmartre neighbourhood around her hostel in Paris that she began to believe that her dream of becoming a traveling artist could become a reality. She stumbled into a pop-up studio for an artist that used mixed media of collage and street art to make incredible paintings. This serendipitous event would spark the much needed reassurance from the universe that she could do this too. In 2014, upon returning from a four month journey in Brazil she had a fresh new perspective on life. Inspired to begin her own artistic journey, she returned home to Haven, WI. Lybra Ray’s colourful life is conveyed in her art. These are the first pieces from the start of the adventure.

To see more of Lybra’s work click here

To learn more about Lybra click here