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


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