Dominic Chambers, Skully Gustafson

Skully Gustafson: Outdoor Wigstore

Dominic Chambers: In Light our Bodies Shift

March 30 – May 26, 2018

Opening Reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 30

Gallery Night: April 20/April 21

Portrait Society Gallery is pleased to present two solo painting exhibitions that consider media, mark making and the act of scraping, covering or erasing as metaphors for the sensory language of experiencing and valuing our lives.


Dominic Chambers, “Purple Spirit Boy,” 2017, charcoal, chalk pastel on gessoed paper, 34.5 x 30.

Dominic Chambers, who is originally from St. Louis, MO., graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2016. He is currently mid-way through a graduate program at Yale University School of Art. This body of new work continues his exploration of love and nurturing as he envisions the sentient and spiritual beings who guide us. Chambers tends to create large scale paintings and drawings that reference his personal biography, African-American history, literature, and his relationship to the black body. He has exhibited his work in both solo and group exhibitions regionally. He has participated in a number of residencies including The Yale Norfolk summer residency and the New York Studio residency Program in Brooklyn, NY. This is Dominic’s second exhibition at Portrait Society.


Skully Gustafson, “Accessories Dance,” 2018, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in.

Skully Gustafson, a 2012 graduate of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, has become one of Wisconsin’s foremost young painters to watch. As Gustafson creates lively spaces from a growing vocabulary of mark making and media, he views the paintings as windows to imaginary kingdoms where people and animals preen and convene. By juxtaposing images, symbols, and figures, Gustafson suggests the ways in which individuals are influenced, fortified, or defined by meanings outside themselves. Shifting ideas of public presentation and private self construction explore how an individual is many different and overlapping selves.

Gustafson is also a musician who performs with his partner, Erik Moore, in Cartoon Pussy.

This is his second major exhibition at Portrait Society.

For additional information or images, please contact the gallery:, 414 870-9930. Debra Brehmer, owner/director.


Waste Not: Wisconsin Self-Taught

Waste Not II:  Wisconsin Self Taught

January 19 to March 17, 2018
Opening reception, Gallery Night: 5 to 9 p.m. January 19.
Bright and Blue 24x18 '88

Bernard Gilardi, “Bright and Blue,” 24 x 18 in., acrylic on panel, 1988.

Portrait Society Gallery represents a growing, impressive roster of self taught artists. This winter, the gallery showcases these independently spirited makers with the work of Bernard Gilardi, Romano Johnson, Rosemary Ollison, Rudy Rotter, Jeremy Ward and Della Wells. This exhibition coincides with Portrait Society’s participation in the Outsider Art Fair in New York City January 18 to 21.

Undeniably some of the most important artists in the state, their status deliniated here as “self-taught” need not identify them as different from any other practitioner with formal training but is used for orientation. Each of these artists crafted meaningful bodies of work outside the professional realm of academic training and in spite of life conditions that may have impeded the pursuit of a creative life.


Bernard Gilardi,

Bernard Gilardi wanted to be a painter since high school but after WWII he needed a profession that would support his family. He worked full time for a printer and painted during the evenings and weekends, ultimately creating nearly 400 oil paintings in his basement by the time he died in 2008. While he didn’t show or sell his paintings when he was alive, his work is now represented in major museums including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Chazen Museum and Museum of Wisconsin Art. Gilardi has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Wisconsin Art and the Wriston Art Center, Lawrence University.

Jeremy Ward, Monkey Mask, 2013, 2

Jeremy Ward, Monkey Mask, wood, 2016.

Jeremy Ward, who the gallery introduced in its first Waste Not exhibition in 2013, is from Horicon, Wisconsin. Ward creates angular wooden masks, often inspired by cartoon subjects or popular culture personalities. Each mask is carefully designed with multiple wooden geometric pieces. Social interactions can be difficult for Ward making the mask an almost literal intervention to mitigate human dynamics.

rosemary ollison, leather polka dot quilt

Rosemary Ollison, textile, re-purposed leather, 102 x 85 in., 2017.

Both Rosemary Ollison and Della Wells translate difficult personal histories into their art work. Wells is a consumate story teller whose collages address African American female empowerment. Ollison used her interdisciplinary art practice as a means to set herself free from trauma and build a new life. Her career reached a pivotal point this year when the Milwaukee Art Museum purchased several major works for its collection, including a 10 x 10 foot leather patchwork, abstract textile piece. Della Wells’ work is in numerous public and private collections and she has a solo show at the Loyola University Museum of Art on Michigan Avenue in Chicago opening in February. She was named artist of the year by the city of Milwaukee in 2016.

Yolanda's House, 18 x 14

Della Wells, Yolanda’s House, collage, 18 x 14 in., 2017.

Romano Johnson, an African-American artist born with a developmental disability,  lived on the North side of Chicago until moving to Madison at age 13, which is when he started making art. “Mano,” as friends call him, works out of the non-profit studio in Madison called Artworking, Inc.

romano new craying church person, 30 x 40 ? -1

Romano Johnson, Crying Church Man, acrylic and glitter on canvas, 30 x 40 in., 2018.

His large, acrylic and glitter paintings are packed with pattern and color creating exuberant compositions that electrify his larger-than-life subject matter. Recent paintings include portraits of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and Ice T as well as images of motorcycles and cars sometimes referencing Mad Max films. His work is in many private collections. His first  major solo museum exhibition, The Glitterati, was presented at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in 2017. 


Rudy Rotter, untitled, pen on wallpaper, 1994.

Rudy Rotter (1913-2001) was a dentist in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He began carving wood sculptures in 1956 when he was 43, while still operating his full-time dental practice. When he retired, he worked full time as an artist and by the time he died at age 88, had filled all three floors of his studio/museum. The Rudy Rotter Museum of Sculpture, long a landmark to art enthusiasts, was closed several years ago and Rudy’s work was moved into storage. Besides sculptures of intertwined men, women and children in celebration of love and humanity, later in his life Rotter adopted a Surrealist methodology of automatic drawing to free his mind and hand. Experimental and inventive, Rotter also worked with a variety of cast-off and found materials from local industries. Rudy Rotter’s work is in the collection of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.




Craig Clifford, Flower Brick


November 24 through December 30, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, November 25, noon to 5 p.m.


Saturday, December 2: Gallery Manager Tony Nickalls will hold court at Portrait Society from noon to 5 p.m. At 2 p.m. come hear Tony talk about his favorite clay and 2D objects in the exhibition.
Saturday, December 9: Enjoy a free workshop with painter Pat Hidson. She will set up a table with art supplies and guide participants through a collage and drawing demonstration. Each participant will leave with a work.
Saturday, December 16: Todd Mrozinski, who has an eight foot painting of a bonfire in the current exhibition as well as two clay ‘stacks’ of wood, and his partner Renee Bebeau, who made miniature clay Monet haystacks, will guide participants in a free air-dry clay workshop at 2 p.m. The clay will be provided. Adults and kids can join Milwaukee’s hardest working art couple in free-form communal clay play with an emphasis on producing stacked compositions of shapes and objects.
Saturday, December 30: Joeann Daley, a Dominican Sister, earned an MFA in printmaking in 1981 in Florence, Italy. While she still considers herself a printmaker, she has transferred her skills to a new medium. In 2010, while attending a meeting, Joeann realized she had nothing on which to take notes. She picked up a pen and her used styrofoam coffee cup. Realizing that the incised mark on syrofoam felt similar to etching, Joeann began making increasingly elaborate pen patterns on a variety of recycled cups. These jewel like objects appear precious and valuable until one discovers their humble material origin. Joeann will discuss her work and life at 2 p.m. December 30 and host a stacking competition of her various sized cups. Prizes will be awarded.
steve burnham, ceramics

Steve Burnham, Eye stack, 2017.


Portrait Society Gallery’s annual ceramic exhibition is geared toward small and affordable works for holiday purchases. This year’s theme is “Stacked.” We are stacking the odds that our more than 20 individual artists fearlessly explore the compositional challenges of the vertical realm with both functional and sculptural works in piled up formations. Solid and teetering, repetitive and reaching toward the sky, “stacking” is one of the first things a toddler does around 18 months of age as motor skills develop. This most deeply engrained primal motion of the human hand continues to reverberate through our lives. The urge to build from the ground up is powerful, as evidenced in the earliest form of architecture, the Mesopotamian ziggurat, one layer on top of another.

Saski De Rooy, faces

Saskia de Rooy, faces


In addition to the ceramic artists, the walls will be equally abundant with stacks of two-dimensional work and special projects. Fun, boisterous and packed with amazing deals, Portrait Society’s annual holiday show is the place to find unusual, hand-made gifts.

Ceramic artists include: Lisa Marie Barber, Renée Bebeau, Craig Clifford, Ian Connors, Joeann Daley, Christopher Davis-Benavides, Karen Gunderman, Ethan Kastner, Linda Kowalewski, Debbie Kupinsky, Jessica Laub, Brian Malnassy, Todd Mrozinski, Shelby Page, Olivia Rehm, Saskia de Rooy, Darlene Wesenberg Rzezotarski, Jill Sebastian, Meghan Sullivan, Marc Travanti, and Michael Ware.

Two-dimensional artists include: Tom Bamberger, Steve Burnham, Cassie Marie Edwards, Dan Herro, Pat Hidson, Ariana Huggett, and Melissa Lee Johnson.

Craig Clifford, vase

Craig Clifford, vase


Marc Travanti

Cassie Marie Edwards - Pink Bunny - 12x12 - Oil on Canvas

Cassie Marie Edwards

Husband & Husband

lon and todd portrait by Kurt Eakle

Photo by Kurt Eakle

Husband & Husband: Lon Michels and Todd Olson

September 15 to November 10, 2017
Opening Reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 15, 2017
Review: Kat Kneevers, Shepherd Express, “Exuberance Side by Side.” 
Review: Wisconsin Gazette, “Shared Lives in Art”
Video interview:  Husband and Husband, Kat Kneevers for Shepherd Express
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gallery Night recommendations


Portrait Society is pleased to present its first exhibition of work by Lon Michels and Todd Olson as well as the first exhibition where they have shown their work side-by-side.

The couple resides in Lodi, Wisconsin with their dog Bazzy on a hilltop with grounds that they have cultivated to summon a Claude Monet state of mind. Lon Michels began painting as a child under the tutelage of his mother who was an artist. After many years in New York as Louise Nevelson’s studio assistant and a model for Calvin Klein, Michels found his way back to Wisconsin with his partner Todd Olson. He completed his MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. About nine years ago, Todd also began painting. Because Lon wanted him to have something to do while he was in the studio, the most logical solution was to teach Todd to paint.

Todd’s work has subsequently flourished with a similar but distinctive style. Both compose paintings with detailed, vibrant patterns, which, they say, allude to the positive human and spiritual energy they seek in daily life, having both endured health crises and other challenges in their pasts. The art critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mary Louise Schumacher said, “Every face, every fold of fabric, every inch of space is brimming with textile like designs.”

93 X 80 framed acrylic on canvas title icarus and daedalus $38,000

Lon Olson, Icarus and Daedalus, acrylic on canvas, 2017.

In their first side-by-side show, Lon and Todd take over the entire gallery (all three rooms) with masterworks that will be shown for the first time including some paintings of the same subject, such as Icarus and Daedalus, rendered from live models in the studio. Also included is a suite of paintings done while they were in Ecuador last winter, several recent portraits, and paintings based on vistas in Lodi.



As a statement of their abiding love for one another as well as a document attesting to the legal rights of human beings to partner and live in freedom and equality, their marriage license, secured in California several years ago, will be on display and central to the theme, Husband & Husband.

Lon Michels’ work is in many prominent collections, including the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, where his 8 x 10 foot interpretation of “The Last Supper,” is on display in the permanent contemporary collection.

lon michels, thai garden, 75 x 51 inches

Lon Michels, Thai Garden, 75 x 51 in., acrylic on canvas.

todd Olson, self portrait

Todd Olson, “Self Portrait.” 54 x 42 in., acrylic on canvas.

todd, icraus

Todd Olson, Icarus, 2017.

NOW Figuration

Summer exhibition, Portrait Society

July 7 to September 8 (July 21 gallery night)
Opening Reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 7
Review: Now Figuration
Closing reception and Artist Talk moderated by art historian Deborah Wilk: 2 p.m. Saturday, September 2. Free, open to the public.

Herman Aguirre, Portrait of Paloma No. 2, oil on canvas, 16 x 12, 2017.

In 1983, Russell Bowman, then director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, initiated a major exhibition called New Figuration in America. National artists such as Eric Fischl, Robert Longo, David Salle, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman were returning to figurative modes and, in this exhibition, Bowman asked what they were bringing anew to the genre.  Why was figuration being reinvigorated on the heels of the more conceptual and minimalist 1970s?

Now Figuration (35 years later) will bring together a group of Portrait Society artists such as Lois Bielefeld, J. Shimon, Rafael Salas, Skully Gustafson, Della Wells and Romano Johnson, along with recent art school grads and artists new to the gallery to look back at Bowman’s show for comparison, and ask again:  Why the figure? What has been brought to the discussion? How do the concerns of contemporary artists relate to their historic forebearers?


Lois Bielefeld, Juanita, digital print, 2017.

Artists include:

Herman Aguirre, (Chicago), Brian James Bartlett (Madison), Tom Berenz, Lois Bielefeld, Steve Burnham, Cameron Bliss (Atlanta), Dominic Chambers (New Haven, CT), Tracy Cirves, Eric Fischl (New York), Skully Gustafson, Romano Johnson (Madison), Jerry Jordan (Madison), Rosemary Ollison, CJ Pyle (Indiana), Rafael Salas, Jacob Salzer, Carri Skoczek, J. Shimon (Appleton), Patrick Stromme, Ariana Vaeth, Della Wells.

Sleeping with Socks (1)

Tom Berenz, Sleeping with Socks, acrylic on canvas, 2017.

lo res Dixie

CJ Pyle, Blotto, 10 x 13 in., ink on paper.


Tracy Cirves


Skully Gustafson

Musician_4 hi res.jpg

Rafael Salas, “Prairie Musician 4,” acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 18 x 24 in., 2017.


Della Wells, “You, You, You,” acrylic on plastic, 2015.

Erin 3

Jacob Salzer, “Erin,” oil on canvas, 2017.


morning with the russians, jerry janis

Jerry Jordan, “Morning with the Russians,” oil on canvas.


Cameron Bliss, “Come Back,” acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30, 2017.

j. shimon, NOW figuration, silhouette

J. Shimon, silhouette, ink on vellum, 2017.



Steve Burnham, mixed media on unstretched canvas, 2017.


Ariana Vaeth, “Cat’s out of the Bag,” oil on canvas, 2017.

The Chaotic Entanglement of Ms. Bubbletree_BJBartlett_LoRes

Brian James Bartlett, “The Chaotic Entanglement of Ms. Bubbletree,” mixed media, 2017.

Romano Johnson - Purple Angel - 48x60-1

Romano Johnson, “Cross Power Woman,” acrylic and glitter on canvas, 2016.


Carri Skozcek

Rosemary Ollison: Learning to Live with Abundance

Rosemary Ollison in her living room
Hours: Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
For appointments: 414 870-9930


Opening Reception: June 16, 2017, 6 to 8 p.m. Free.

Portrait Society Gallery is pleased to present “Learning to Live with Abundance,”  a special  two-week exhibition of Milwaukee artist Rosemary Ollison’s new work. The public reception is  Friday, June 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.

This exhibition features a re-construction of an installation staged in 2016 at PSG of Rosemary’s living room, with a four-channel video by Ted Brusubardis. New large-scale leather quilts constructed over the past year and recent drawings will also be presented.

IMG_7103Rosemary Ollison, 75,  grew up on a plantation in Arkansas where her grandfather was the horse wrangler. She moved to Wisconsin at age 16, after her grandfather died and the family was asked to leave the plantation. She began making art in 1984 while healing from an abusive marriage and working at a pre-school for disabled children. Her drawings, often done in series, are about being a black woman in America. They are, essentially, celebrations of blackness and womanhood, mirroring self-acceptance and confidence in the way individuals style themselves and assert their personalities through dress and posture. Rosemary has  transformed her small apartment into an art environment, using handmade rugs, fiber works, drawings, duct tape sculptures, beaded works, jewelry, hog bone necklaces and clothing to create a vibrant, joyous space of self-defined beauty. 

IMG_7128Rosemary employs materials sourced mostly from resale stores. Working full time at her art practice, she applies a sophisticated, practiced sense of design to all she touches.  This year she has been focused on a series of large quilts made out of deconstructed leather coats and garments from resale stores. These quilts will be shown for the first time during this exhibition, which will also feature a post-election series of drawings called “Darkness in the Depths of Beauty,” a series of black and white drawings, and an installation that is a reconstruction of her living room with a four-channel video by Ted Brusubardis. 

Ollison says she creates in dialog with God:  “When I am creating I am satisfied, I am free! I no longer just exist, I am alive! I do not feel worthless, hopeless, alone, sad, afraid, ashamed, guilty, down hearted, unloved, uncared for, doubtful, and discontented and the like. . .I can see the real me in my works.” 

IMG_7110Portrait Society featured Ollison’s work in the 2017 Outsider Art Fair in New York City. Her work is in several prominent public collections, including the Chipstone Foundation, as well many private collections.


Drawn Out

installation view, drawn out

Installation view, Drawn Out.

JOIN US FOR A FREE GALLERY TALK, June 1 at 6 p.m. Hosted by artist Michael Davidson, with Todd Mrozinski, Mark Ottens and Melissa Johnson discussing drawing and their current work.

Portrait Society Gallery

Open hours: Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

Drawn Out, April 7 to June 4, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, April 7, 6 to 8 p.m.

Gallery Night: Friday, April 21, 6 to 9 p.m.

Collaborative epic doodle project/fundraiser: Please add a drawing.
Go Fund Me campaign for drawing project, “On the Wing.”
Review: Urban Milwaukee
03. Cloud 3

Todd Mrozinski, Cloud 3, graphite on paper, 41 x 86 inches, 2016.

The pencil’s capabilities reach far beyond its humble character. While drawing is a foundational act, it can also soar, defying its role as sketch or notation. This exhibition features inspiring, giant compositions from Todd Mrozinski’s new series of graphite drawings of trees and clouds which stretch up to seven feet long to Mark Ottens’ hallucinational, microscopically detailed 8-foot-long pen drawing, which he refers to as an “epic doodle.”  The exhibition also includes small scale works by Mrozinski, Ottens, Adolph Rosenblatt and recent MIAD grad Melissa Lee Johnson. These artists wield pencils and pens with phenomenal dexterity in this multi-faceted celebration of meticulous mark-making.

pine tree cropped

Todd Mrozinski, “Pine Tree,” Graphite on paper, 41 x 68 in., 2016

05. Homage to Corot

Todd Mrozinski, “Homage to Corot,” graphite on paper, 41 x 91 in., 2016

04. Tree Top 1

Todd Mrozinski, “Tree Top 1,” graphite on paper, 41 x 68 in., 2016

08. Rain at Sunset

Todd Mrozinski, “Rain at Sunset,” Graphite on paper, 41 x 88 in., 2016.


Todd, Mrozinski, Summer Solstice Full Moon

Todd Mrozinski, “Summer Solstice Full Moon,” Graphite on paper, 41 x 88 in., 2016


Installation view

Todd Mrozinski returned to the elemental #2 pencil after completing a busy year of painting at Milwaukee’s historic Pfister Hotel as artist-in-resident. When the residency ended, Mrozinski needed to transition back to a slower, private studio mode. He spent several months at home making small drawings of the interior of his house. When he was ready to return to his space at the Nut Factory, a converted warehouse off Capitol Drive, he was also ready to tackle larger graphite drawings. The roof of the studio building provided sweeping views of the city and Mrozinski would go up there to look at clouds. The subsequent pencil and graphite powder drawings were completed in the past year. They range in size from five to seven feet. Mrozinski says, “The nuanced mark making and attention to edge became the visual expressions of liberation, rebirth and expansion which poured into this body of work.” The rigor and spontaneity of Mrozinski’s visible mark making provide a contrast to the notion of immaterial sky and clouds. In each composition,  active pencil driven furies of line bring emotive immediacy to the otherwise pastoral, romantic mood of the drawings. 


Mark Ottens, A Torrent Released from an Arm on South Division Avenue, 1988, ink on paper, 99 x 65.5 inches, 2013.

Mark Ottens is also a painter, known for detailed, precise, complex abstract patterns, layered under coats of resin. Labor intense and methodical, the paintings defy the hand that made them. Prior to this, about ten years ago, Ottens was an image-based painter, having studied as an undergrad with Roy Yoshida, Karl Wirsum and Kerry James Marshall at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. On New Year’s day in 2013 Ottens, for no particular reason, hauled a giant roll of heavy-weight vintage paper he had been carting around for 20 years out of a closet. Doodling was a practice he had gravitated toward in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as evidenced by the series of drawings on cancelled bank checks included in the exhibition.  It was a way to unwind into the evening and it paired well with beer. The roll of paper that had been lingering in his studio finally inspired him to grab a .005 archival Mircro pen and start drawing. The process, he said, felt redemptive, as if years of thoughts, prior images and experiences tumbled out of his unconscious, including “abandoned buildings, things in poor repair, old signage, early advertising characters, postcards, dive bars, and hobo culture.”

Looking at Mark Ottens drawing

detail, Mark Ottens

Mark Ottens, detail, “A Torrent Released from an Arm on South Division Avenue, 1988,” ink on paper, 2013.


Mark Ottens, pen drawing.



Mark Ottens, Untitled (checks), ink on cancelled checks, each 2 3/4 x 6 in.,

“Doodling is a means of occupying oneself,” Ottens said, regarding this work.  “A nonverbal, anti-linear way of exploring memory and the subconscious. The telling of certain stories that are difficult to access with words. I was attempting to make an epic doodle. A visual War and Peace, Ulysses or Gravity’s Rainbow in fine-tipped pen.”

It took Ottens nine-months and about 70 Mircro pens to complete the 8 foot drawing. He continues to draw smaller scale, densely rendered abstractions and image-based works that begin within the playful conceptual fold of doodling but evolve into drawings of near perfect, expansive care and detail.

Cowboy Costume_MelissaJohnsonMelissa Lee Johnson, a 2016 graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, works between the practices of graphic design, illustration, poster-making, fine art, journaling and DIY tattooing. While Ottens, a generation older, pulls source material from printed materials, books and cartoons, Johnson’s drawings are littered with 21st century emoji references, on-line disputes, break-ups, make-ups, Tinder drama and betrayals on the social sphere. Basically, her drawing practice is a form of journaling that transports the conventional self-reflective notes of a written diary into new worlds of compelling, brash, funny, self-effacing drawn female wonderlands, both charming and edgy.


Installation view, Portrait Society.

Adolph Rosenblatt, tree drawingAdolph Rosenblatt (1933-2017) started as a painter, graduating from Yale School of Art in 1956. When his paintings became increasing thick, he swapped out the oil paint for clay and began sculpting his immediate world. Throughout his life as an artist and teacher, Rosenblatt never lost his ability to marvel at the world. He would continually pause to comment on tree shadows falling across the face of a house or look up with astonishment at the branches of a tree interwoven with sky. He sculpted and drew trees his entire life. It is in his later years, however, that the tree drawings start to feel especially reverent. The series featured in this exhibition, on black paper, shows a gestural ease that almost fuses with the moment of looking. One senses his hand moving in joyous response as if dancing with the monumental gesture of the tree.


Todd Mrozinski received his BFA in painting from The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1997 and in 1996 attended The New York Studio Program. He has been in solo and group exhibitions nationwide and his work is in various public and private collections. The natural elements of earth, air, fire, water and spirit, as well as his home and everyday objects are his subject matter. His work is produced in series, each series relates symbolically to life experience and grows out of inspiration. Todd was the 2015-16 Pfister Artist-in-Residence, curator of the Pfister Pop-Up Gallery.

Mark Ottens received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ottens lives in Oostburg, Wisconsin. His work has been featured in New American Paintings three times and he was a recent finalist for Art Prize. After abandoning image-based painting about eight years ago, Ottens began drawing again in 2013. A tumult of images seemed to spill from his consciousness, including abandoned buildings, things in poor repair, old signage, early advertising characters, postcards, dive bars, and hobo culture. He has shown his work at Tory Folliard Gallery, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI; Printworks Gallery, Chicago; the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; Carl Hammer Gallery and Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago.

Mellisa Lee Johnson received her BFA in Integrated Studio Arts from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2016. She is a fine artist, illustrator & graphic designer, living and working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a fine artist, Melissa primarily makes drawings and illustrations, but also explores animation, writing, fibers, painting, and collaborative projects. As an illustrator & graphic designer, she makes a range of traditional & digital work for both print and web. She was a finalist for a Mary Nohl Fellowship in 2017.

Adolph Rosenblatt, (1933-2017), taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1966 to 1999. He earned his art degree from Yale in 1956, where he studied with Josef Albers. Adolph will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, opening June 16, 2017.