Two New Exhibitions at Watrous Gallery Explore Cultural Connections to Nature

Dakota Mace: Land and Memory & Kyoung Ae Cho: Pause

Exhibitions On View: September 9, 2022 to November 6, 2022
Opening Reception: September 23, 5:30-7:30 pm

Kyoung Ae Cho, Paused, 2022. Dandelion seeds, silk organza, rayon thread; hand stitched. 500+ 2 x 2 x 2 inch cubes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ursa Anderson, Exhibitions & Outreach Coordinator, 608.773.6633 x25
  
Madison, Wisconsin – The James Watrous Gallery is dedicated to celebrating Wisconsin artists. A program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, the Watrous Gallery focuses on solo exhibits by contemporary Wisconsin artists and curated shows that reflect the Wisconsin Academy’s interest in drawing connections between art and other disciplines.

Upcoming paired solo exhibits Land and Memory and Pause feature artists Dakota Mace and Kyoung Ae Cho engaging with common themes of nature, family, identity, and loss.

“Both of these artists make work that is deeply personal, yet resonates with universal themes of cultural identity, home, and relationship to the land,” said Watrous Gallery Director Jody Clowes.

“Cho creates art from well-worn family clothing and seeds, leaves, and flowers foraged from her neighborhood, while Mace works with images, colors, and stories that reflect her Diné heritage and the land of the Navajo Nation. It’s an honor to share these inspiring women’s art at the Watrous Gallery this fall.”

Admission is free and the public is welcome. The Watrous Gallery is located on the third floor of Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison. These exhibitions are made possible in part by grants from Dane Arts and the Madison Arts Commission.

Kyoung Ae Cho: Pause – Kyoung Ae Cho is engaged in a conversation with nature. Encompassing sculpture, installation, and fiber-based works, her art is grounded in an intimate dialogue with her materials. Cho starts each piece by mindfully gathering and preparing organic matter and objects of little value, attending to the way their physical properties reveal patterns of growth and change. As she explains, “Each meditative, repetitive gesture, each cut, stitch, and placement is part of the experience of merging the natural and the man-made, the physical and the spiritual.” At a time when we are facing the twin crises of intense climate change and species loss, the humility and tenderness of her process offer both hope and inspiration.

For this exhibition, Cho will be showing a new series of textile works created with her family’s recycled clothing. The same patient, collaborative approach she takes with natural materials is present in these newest pieces.

Dakota Mace: Land and Memory – Dakota Mace’s work can be appreciated purely for its graphic power and sensitive use of color, but it is also a rare and generous offering: a window into the world of the Diné, the people of the Navajo Nation. Drawing from her Diné heritage, Mace explores themes of family lineage, community, identity, and the concept of balance within nature. Her art has often centered on the symmetry of designs within Diné culture and the stories connected to land, memory, and place.

Mace works across several media, from photography to weaving, beadwork, and papermaking. She challenges her viewers’ understanding of Diné culture by using alternative photography processes and translating traditional motifs into the language of contemporary art. Yet no matter what medium she chooses, Mace weaves in her understanding of the symbolic abstractions of her Diné culture. 
Dakota Mace, So’ (Stars), 2019. Suite of unique chemigrams; dimensions variable.
Related Events

Reception for Pause and Land and Memory
Friday, September 23, 2022 – 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Artists’ talks begin at 6 pm
James Watrous Gallery • in Overture Center for the Arts • Madison

Join Kyoung Ae Cho, Dakota Mace, and the Wisconsin Academy to celebrate Pause and Land and Memory at the James Watrous Gallery. These paired solo exhibits run September 9-November 6 and engage with common themes of nature, family, identity, and loss.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments provided.

From Cultural Appropriation to Cultural Appreciation – a workshop
Wednesday, October 5, 2022 – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection • Nancy Nicholas Hall, UW-Madison • Madison

Appreciation is seeking to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden one’s perspective and connect with others. Appropriation, however, is taking an aspect of a culture that is not your own and using it for your own personal interest. How can we work to stop accepting cultural appropriation and encourage cultural appreciation instead? How can artists, designers, collectors, and art lovers learn with and through Indigenous objects while honoring the peoples, histories, and knowledge systems that created those things and continue to give them meaning?

This event is presented in partnership with UW-Madison’s Center for Design and Material Culture and held in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, which includes more than 13,000 objects from around the world. Their staff are actively engaged with the question of cultural appropriation. Facilitated by Dakota Mace, nibiiwakamigkwe, Carolyn Jenkinson, and Sarah Anne Carter, this workshop will help participants understand and explain the stakes of cultural appropriation for Indigenous communities. The discussion will develop a toolkit of questions and approaches that support engaging with a wide range of cultural objects in an ethical and respectful manner.

This special event is free and will be limited to 15 participants, so early registration is suggested.  

Friction Quartet Performance in Concert
Sunday, October 16, 2022 – 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Promenade Hall • in Overture Center for the Arts • Madison

Join the Wisconsin Academy for an evening with chamber music ensemble Friction Quartet as they explore the global climate crisis through sound. Friction’s most recent album, Rising, explores the question, “How long will Earth be habitable for our kids?” A love letter to our fragile planet, Rising refers to the increasing sea levels and temperatures that threaten to consume our human settlements and the wilderness around us. It is also a rallying cry to mobilize our community against this catastrophe. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased in advance on the Wisconsin Academy website.

This concert is presented in conjunction with Climate Fast Forward, the Academy’s conference on climate change action in Wisconsin.

Collaborating to present Friction Quartet in concert are artist Bruce Crownover of the Last Glacier Collective and his wife Samantha Crownover, executive director of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. This event is also being made possible by friends of the Crownovers and by Dane Arts. 
The Wisconsin Academy creates opportunities for people to connect, learn, and collaborate to improve life in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Academy showcases contemporary Wisconsin art at the James Watrous Gallery, examines science and culture in Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine, and explores pathways to a sustainable future through the Climate and Energy Initiative. Academy programs and public talks provide opportunities to learn and explore, while making connections with curious and creative people across Wisconsin. The Academy recognizes excellence through the annual Fiction & Poetry Awards and Fellows Awards for leadership in and across disciplines. We also support the Wisconsin Poet Laureate and many other endeavors that help the Academy create a better world by connecting Wisconsin people and ideas.

The James Watrous Gallery receives ongoing support from the Great Performance Fund at the Madison Community Foundation and the membership of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Programming is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


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