BALM at Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art

April 9 through May 21, 2022

Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art

207 E. Buffalo Street, Suite 526
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Hours: Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.



Sebura and Gartelmann, Beam, 2017. Digital Video. Image courtesy of Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art.

For immediate release

We are entering an epoch unlike any other: The pandemic, climate destruction, years of untenable presidential leadership, earthquakes, floods, fires, increased crime, habitat erosion, continued economic and racial disparity.

The upcoming years will require heroic determination. In this sense, we will need to take better care of ourselves, both mentally and physically. Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art is pleased to present Balm, a group exhibition of work meant to heal or soothe, art that is a communication of care, from one human to another, a contemplation of acts of beauty and restoration. The exhibition will run April 9 to May 21, 2022. An informal opening reception will be Saturday, April 9 from noon to 5 p.m. Please come and meet the artists.

The exhibition is anchored by the work of Mark Ottens in the front gallery space. His layered geometric abstract paintings address a desire to “…leave behind a little bit of wonderment, of cheer, of beauty.” Ottens says, “The painting’s goal now is to cause a smile and a sense of awe, rather than a frown and a bit of risk taking. I hope that the paintings will eventually function as a source of calm, reassurance, a reprise from life’s varieties of roughness.”

The exhibition will unfold into a small group show, featuring PSG artists and guests. Paintings and drawings by Skully Gustafson present playful worlds that remind us that we have the power to shape our lives and attitudes. Ashley Lusietto’s small works on paper detail dreamlike scenes where magic meets desire. David Niec’s night sky and moon paintings celebrate the relationships between humans and the natural world. Nirmal Raja continues to weave global issues into her multi-faceted practice. LaNia Sproles’ powerfully confrontational paintings and drawings insist on the domestic realm as a place of comfort, freedom, and self-care. Thomas Haneman’s lyrical, invented flower compositions reach toward unseen nourishment. We will be introducing work by Meg Lionel Murphy whose paintings are about surviving domestic violence and we are pleased to present a multi-screen video installation by the duo Sebura & Gartelmann.

In a recent Artforum article, the contemporary painter Amy Stillman, commented, “Painting was the way you send out your signal, plot your course through precarious waters, navigate toward other vessels, other shorelines, other people. You steer that little square, and its un-straight lines, as it rises and sinks, and that’s how you try to save your own life.” #

Ashley Lusietto, A Good Mouthful, 2021 Gouache on paper, 12 x 9 inches. Image courtesy of Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Published by Artdose Magazine

Founded in 2013, Artdose Magazine LLC is an independent print and digital art magazine committed to connecting and supporting the visual arts in the Midwest. Published by Frank Juárez, the magazine is premised on the belief that we all share common goals of introducing, engaging, and offering diverse art experiences. Artdose Magazine LLC appears in print as a bi-annual art magazine, through a weekly art e-newsletter and on Instagram and Facebook. About Frank Juárez Frank Juárez is an award winning art educator, artist, publisher, art coach, and former gallery director living and working in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to collaborate, network and exhibit in Wisconsin.

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