Catherine Williams April Guest Artist

Portraitist Catherine Williams at VIVA Gallery

The portraits of Catherine Williams will be featured at VIVA Gallery during the month of April, beginning with a First Thursday opening on April 5th. Cathy has worked in many mediums and with many different subjects, but finds herself always pulled back to portraiture. She portrays local people, and her preferred media is charcoal or ebony pencil.

Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1995. For the next 20 years, she did many forms of freelance work, primarily commissioned watercolors and pencil drawings of people and domestic animals. For the past few years, she has forgone commissions in order to explore her own artistic path. She works from sitting models and reference photographs to realize her compelling drawings. Whether her subject is typical or eccentric, elegant or ordinary, exotic or local, anyone observing her work can see that she truly celebrates the people she portrays.

Cathys portraits and the work of VIVA’s 23 member artists will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on April 5 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and will be on display throughout the month. The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua. For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608-637-6918 or 

Celebrating DAAF People's Choice and Member Theme "A River Runs Through It"

Every year, VIVA Gallery takes a month to celebrate the talents of its members with a themed show. Within this year’s show, the work of members Ken and Michelle Workowski will be highlighted, as last September they again won The People’s Choice Award at the Driftless Area Art Festival. The Peoples Choice Award is sponsored each year by VIVA Gallery, and members are thrilled that the Workowskis have earned this honor for the second year running. The member show theme is  "A River Runs Through It”and its centerpiece is a dining room table of the same name beautifully crafted by Ken Workowski. The opening will occur on the gallery’s First Thursday event on February 1st..

Ken and Michelle live and work on 50 acres of land near Viola. Together they have built a businessaptly called The Nature of Thingsthat uses materials from their land and that of others nearby. They transform these gifts of nature into exceptional home furnishings and furniture, including willow and wood chairs and tables, birchbark frames, poplar bark baskets, lamps and lamp shades. The lines and patterns of the wood guide their design, as in the case of the table called “A River Runs Through It.” The wood top is red cedar, salvaged by Ken while working on a grassland restoration project with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The cleared cedar logs came from Tunnelville Road just outside of Viola, and now because of Kens knowledge and talents, what was once invasive is now inviting. Ken collaborated with Nick Smolen, a metalwork artist from the Westby area, on the table’s base.

Other VIVA member artists are following this theme, in paintings, glass, ceramics, wood, metal and fiber. To give you a taste of what will be on display, M’Lou Wilkie will present a new stained glass piece depicting a river from the Driftless landscape. Pita Daniels will have a large contemporary acrylic painting representing the spirit of a river in bold contrasting colors. Liz Quebe’s oil painting is of the small “river” that runs through their land, water that also inspired Jerry Quebe’s cutting board of black walnut with sapwood accents curving down its center. Mark Herrling has created a hand-painted linocut called “River Town” inspired by the small towns along the banks of the Mississippi River, and Diane Dahl’s “As the Water Flows” is a mixed media bas relief of paper mache, clay and epoxy.

These works and more by VIVA’s 21 member artists will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on February 1 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and will be on display throughout the month. The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua.  

Maureen Karlstad plates / Angela Feltes handwoven transparency

Diane Dahl mixed media  /  Kathleen Aaker handwoven vest

Pita Daniels painting

Nationally-Acclaimed Artist Terese Agnew at VIVA Gallery January 2018

“Writing in Stone” is an installation of over 20 sculptural monuments to remarkable historical figures and transformative ideas that make up the Wisconsin experience. It is the work of nationally-acclaimed artist Terese Agnew and an 80-person collaborative team of artists, writers, historians, ethicists and skilled craftsmen. Through the month of January, a number of these monuments can be seen at VIVA Gallery in Viroqua, beginning on January 4 with the Gallery’s First Thursday opening.
Daily walks near her home near La Farge give Terese Agnew time to think about many things. Troubled by the polarization of her community and state, she worried about the loss of civil discourse and wondered what could be done to help pull people together. Terese’s walks most often take her through an old cemetery perched on a hill with commanding views of the Kickapoo Valley. And here an idea took root. Monuments not to death or war, but to the transformative ideas and events in Wisconsin’s pastexemplary moments in the history of the state, moments that draw people and communities together. “If we want to move beyond the issues that divide us, it makes sense to revisit the historical leaders and events that still command broad-based esteem,” Terese says.

Exhibited at VIVA will be monuments to the Menominee Forest Keepers, Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold, Increase Lapham and even the monarch butterfly, among others.

Terese Agnew’s artworks can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Design
in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., Merton
College, Oxford in the UK, The Milwaukee Art Museum, the John M Walsh III Collection of Contemporary
Art Quilts and numerous other private collections. She has been featured in the PBS Craft in America
Series and in 2012, received the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award. Elliot Medow of
Viroqua, an essential contributor, earned his MFA at UW-Milwaukee, and has worked in film and
television, creating sets and scenes. Diane Dahl has been another contributing member of the principal
team, and is known for her mixed-media artworks and murals; she is a VIVA member artist. Also
involved were a number of students from Viroqua’s Youth Initiative High School, where Terese taught a
summer class on Community Involvement.

Writing in Stonewill be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on January 4 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and is on display through the month of January. The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua. For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608- 637-6918 or 

White Egret

White Egret Framed with Cherry wood
18" x 24"

Artisan Holiday Market 2017 at VIVA Gallery

VIVA Gallery’s sixth annual Artisan Market will include twelve guest artists, and will debut at the monthly First Thursday opening on November 2. New work from VIVA’s nineteen member artists will also be on display. The market is a perfect place to find one-of-kind, locally-created gifts for the holidays, and there are many art forms from which to choose.

Pottery is always popular, and VIVA’s potters offer a range of items and styles. Charna Schwartz uses the colors and forms of the Driftless area in her beautiful blue-green glazes, while Maureen Karlstad may offer a hint of Asia in her tea sets and bowls. Mark Herrling’s decorative tiles are noted for their bold mix of pattern and color. Guest artist Scott Keith has been making functional stoneware pottery for decades, including 17 years at Red Wing Pottery in Minnesota.

Fiber artists create wearables and objects for the home. Eco-printed scarves and hand-warmers by Sharlene Bohr echo the colors and shapes of fall leaves. The looms of Kathleen Aaker and Angela Feltes yield extraordinarily beautiful vests and scarves in fascinating patterns, colors and textures. They also weave lovely wall hangings and table runners. Speaking of the table, one of Lori Hungerholt’s intricately woven baskets would be a perfect adornment. And if you would like your fiber art to speak to you, the clever sayings and bright colors of Crystal Curley’s hot pads are guaranteed to make kitchen chores much more fun.

Also for perfect for preparing or serving are the carefully constructed and beautifully finished cutting/serving boards by Jerry Quebe, and the hand-carved figured wooden spoons by Terry Beck. Ken and Michelle Workowski’s poplar bark baskets, birch bark mirrors and paper lampshades, all made from natural materials, are unusual and popular gift items. Looking for something really unusual? The mesmerizing patterns found in the stained glass kaleidoscopes of Steve and Peggy Kittelson are just the ticket.

A bare wall begs for decoration, and VIVA painters and photographers can provide beautiful solutions. Paul Bergquist, Deb Conlon and Lisbeth Quebe work in oil, while Bill Mapp, Diane Splinter and Anne Tedeschi work in watercolor. Each brings their special vision and style to landscapes, still lifes, and portraiture, whether a particularly fascinating person or a beguiling barnyard critter. For something completely different, look to the bold contemporary acrylics of Pita Daniels. Photographers, too, have differently styles. Tom Rhorer captures the details of the land and sky in stunning color and clarity, while Jamie Heiden softens the scene with layered textures and a little bit of fairy tale. Diane Dahl’s photography is augmented by her mixed media work in acrylics, clay and bits and pieces from nature.

Mark Herrling’s woodcut prints, equally inspired by dreams and nature, are also perfect for your walls, and M’Lou Wilkie’s stained glass pieces will definitely brighten a window. And you just might want to frame one of Mike Lind’s prints or cards, intriguing images of Wisconsin’s river patterns or his clever “You are What You Eat” series.

And last, but certainly not least, you will find a stunning array of jewelry at the Artisan Market. M’Lou Wilkie is widely recognized for her intricate woven beadwork, and Angela Feltes makes use of her hand- made glass beads in her jewelry. Raelene Roberts, a metalsmith for 25 years, casts, fabricates, etches and enamels her one-of-a-kind pieces. Four guest artists add to the selection. Connie Minowa’s jewelry uses the imagery of her paintings as signature elements. Alena Mack melds copper and silver with semi- precious stones, while Christine Larson uses stones, beads and sterling silver in her creations. Nick Smolen brings his forge into the mix and creates mokume-gane metal work jewelry and key rings.

VIVA Gallery is also a great place to find holiday cards and ornaments. 

A sample of the fine artful gifts you'll see at VIVA through the months of November and December.

Jewelry by Christine Larson

"You Are What You Eat"  Mike Lind

Cloth Baskets by Lori Hungerholt

Raku by Charna

Measuring Bowls by Maureen Karlstad

Jewelry by Alena Mack

Miniature Watercolors by Diane Splinter

All sizes of Wooden Spoons by Terry Beck

Photographic Encastics by Jamie Heiden

Scott Keith and Jack Honeywell in October at VIVA

Scott Keith Sculpture

Jack Honeywell Stained Glass

VIVA Gallery Welcomes Two Guest Artists in October

Two Driftless Area artists will share the spotlight at VIVA Gallery’s First Thursday reception on October 5. Jack Honeywell, a stained-glass artist, and Scott Keith, a potter, have been honing their respective crafts for over 40 years. That depth of experience and artistry adds up to an exceptional experience for gallery goers.
Jack maintains his own workplace, Cedar Tree Studio, near Winona, Minnesota. He finds inspiration in the Driftless landscapes, in the people around him, and most often, from the many colors, textures, and varieties of glass itself. Encouraged to pursue art as a child, he has followed an artistic path his entire life. He studied drawing and painting in high school and college, and in the mid-1970s, a friend introduced him to the copper foil technique of stained glass. This was a turning point in his creative life, and he has shaped stain glass works ever since. He studied advanced techniques at the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, Washington, and has worked for Hauser Art Glass in Winona.

Scott has been spinning mudfor four decades, many of those years with Red Wing Pottery, where he was part of a small crew that kept alive the tradition of making salt-glazed stoneware. The iconic stoneware was the first style of pottery that Red Wing created on a large basis. Lately, Scott’s interest has shifted to more sculptural forms, influenced by Mexican surrealism, American folklore, and Pagan whimsy. He has traveled to many different areas of the world, and sees his memories realized in his finished pieces. He loves the malleable qualities of clay and the infinite possibilities it affords. Scotts Newton Valley Pottery studio is just outside of Viroqua, Wisconsin.

Jack’s stained glass and Scott’s clay sculpture and pottery, along with the diverse works of VIVA’s 18 member artists, will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on October 5 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will be on display throughout the month. The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua. For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608- 637-6918 or 

Diane Brown Pottery

                                                              VIVA Gallery Welcomes Diane Brown

VIVA Gallery’s First Thursday reception will be held on September 7, and will showcase the pottery of Diane Marks Brown. Diane, who spends her summers in Viola, is influenced by her surroundings in the Kickapoo Valley. Her pottery blends organic forms, earthen colors and whimsical functionality in objects that can be used every day.

Diane received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Teaching Certificate from the University of Illinois and continued her art education at the Art Institute of Chicago, studying ceramics and art history. She has taught at the high school and university levels in the Chicago area, and kept up with current trends in ceramics through workshops in Illinois, where she spends spring and fall, and in Colorado, where she spends the winter. Her work has been exhibited at venues in Illinois, Indiana and California.