Hidden Talents ** January Member Artists Show

Hidden Talent on Display at VIVA Gallery
At the beginning of each year, VIVA Gallery takes a month to celebrate the talents of its members with a themed show. This year, theres a twist, and you will want to be there for the shows unveiling on First Thursday, January 3rd.

You may be quite familiar with the fortes of VIVAs artists, but you may not be familiar with all of their abilities. This years theme is Hidden Talent” and member artists have been challenged to create works that are outside of their usual offerings. Maybe a painter becomes a potter. Maybe a potter becomes a portraitist. Maybe a weaver makes something in wood instead of wool. 

The Hidden Talent” pieces and more clearly identified works of VIVAs 24 member artists will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on January 3rd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will be on display through 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 info@vivagallery.net.

November & December 2018 Artisan Market

VIVA Gallery’s 7th annual Artisan Market will include the creations of ten guest artists, and new work from the gallery’s 24 member artists. The market, a perfect place to find one-of- kind, locally-created gifts for the holidays, will debut on First Thursday, November 1st.

The works of four accomplished potters come in a wide variety of objects and styles, from the beautiful and functional mugs, bowls, and tea sets by Maureen Karlstad to decorative tiles by Mark Herrling. Charna Schwartz’s clay works are characterized by stunning Majolica glazing and elegant porcelain forms. Scott Keith creates unique sculptural figures inspired by Mexican surrealism and folklore.

The creations of our fiber artists include a range of distinctive clothing and objects for home d├ęcor. The intricate designs of talented weavers Kathleen Aaker and Angela Feltes are evident in their hand-woven vests, scarves, table runners and wall hangings. Sharlene Bohr’s scarves, eco-printed scarves with natural dyes, are unusual and lovely gifts. You may choose a colorful and clever potholder from Crystel Curley, or a felted cuff by Jane Pearlmutter. And Kindred WazeeGale creates hats, side bags and accessories from deerhide, often with intricate beading.

Jewelry is perennially popular, and you will find much to choose made by seven artists participating inthe Artisan Market. M’Lou Wilkie’s intricate woven beadwork, Angela Feltes’ hand-crafted dichroic glass beads, and Christine Larson’s silver, wire and gemstone creations are among the jewelry offerings. Jewelers and metalsmiths Raelene Roberts, Nan Marshall and Nick Smolen incorporate copper, brass and iron into unusual cuffs, necklaces and keychains in all manner of combinations and shapes, while Alena Mack draws on the forms and materials of nature to make her inspired jewelry. Amy Arnold contributes unusual earrings made of painted wood.

Photographs, prints and mixed-media constructions make perfect gifts. Tom Rhorer’s photographscapture the beauty of the Driftless region, and are printed not only on paper, but sometimes on copper, aluminum or glass. Diane Dahl’s photography is augmented by her mixed media work in acrylics, clay and bits and pieces from nature. Prints include Mark Herrling’s bold graphic images and Pete Sandker’s imaginative and detailed watercolors, and you might want to frame one of Mike Lind’s cards, intriguingimages of Wisconsin’s river patterns or his clever “You are What You Eat” series.

You will find oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings with every manner of subject matter. Deb Conlon and Paul Bergquist are known for their beautiful plein air works in oil. Liz Quebe’s oil paintings capture smallfamily farms and farm animals, while watercolor artists Anne Tedeschi and Bill Mapp create scenes of the area, flora and fauna, and still lifes in two distinctive styles. Pita Daniels applies acrylics to make big,
bold contemporary paintings, and Christine Larson uses dominant color schemes to create otherworldly dream landscapes.

Our woodworkers create items to grace your kitchen and home. There are Jerry Quebe’s intricately constructed and beautifully finished cutting and serving boards. Ken and Michelle Workowski team to make popular rustic bark mirrors, poplar bark baskets and delicate lamp shades, all from elements native to our area. Ray Bock’s beautifully aesthetic wooden boxes and sculptural vessels are created from exotic hardwoods, and Nicholas WazeeGale makes delicate boxes and bowls of birch bark, along with hand-carved spoon and bowls. This year, Terry Beck is offering kalimbas, a musical instrument originating in Africa and the Caribbean Islands, while Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber-Olds bring hand- carved, hand-painted wooden hearts.

Rounding out the gallery’s art offerings are the forged metal candlesticks of Nick Smolen, the stainedglass works of M’Lou Wilkie, and books (including coloring books) by Susan Cushing. VIVA Gallery is also a great place to find holiday cards, stocking stuffers and ornaments.

A Sample of Offerings 

Guest Artist Watercolorist Pete Sandker


Mushroom Hunter

 Pete Sandker is VIVA Gallery Guest Artist

VIVA Gallery’s First Thursday opening reception will take place on August 2 and will feature the work of watercolorist and Soldiers Grove native Pete Sandker. When he can, Pete spends part of the year with friends in Maine and Massachusetts, so nautical themes are as much a part of his body of work as local ones.

Pete grew up on a goat farm in a valley down under the hills of southwest Wisconsin. His parents taught him about wildlife, edible plants and tree species, but most importantly, they gave him the freedom to teach himself. Much of his childhood was spent exploring the woods with his older brothers, and they all attended school in a small building in the country with two grades to a room. One can imagine young Pete staring out the window at the trees and surrounding countryside. His love of nature and the outdoors is evident in the wide range of flora and fauna that appear in realistic detail in his work.

Pete's paintings are done in a unique watercolor style consisting of very small, concise patterning in lieu of the usual layering and washes. They invoke a sense of wonder associated with the natural world, along with an obsessive attention to detail. Plants and animals intertwine and combine to become entirely new creatures while the wind becomes a tangible shape, swirling through leaves and over various lakes and waterways. His paintings illustrate a truly unique perspective on an entirely different world, imagined in a tapestry of succession of familiar haunts where the artist himself is rarely seen.


VIVA Gallery Member Artist and Guest Mark Herrling in July

VIVA Gallery Features Printmaker Mark Herrling

VIVA Gallerys First Thursday opening reception will take place on July 5, and for a summertime change, will feature the work of one of its longtime member artists. Mark Herrling, of Fennimore, Wisconsin. will be showing his latest original hand-pulled relief and intaglio prints.

Marks interest in printmaking started early in his artistic career, stemming from his love of the experimental nature of the medium. At first, he emulated the bold, solid shapes that were a part of his paintings, and over time, his printmaking took the inevitable twists and turns inherent in the creative process. His method for creating a relief print, or woodcut, begins with carving the negative part of the image. The raised part of the image is then rolled with an oil-based ink, and rice paper is laid over the inked block. The back of the paper is rubbed with a wooden spoon, thus transferring the image to the paper. This yields a dynamic contract between black and white.

Intaglio includes both etching and engraving. Unlike woodcut, these methods cut an image below the surface of the material. The image on the plate from which a print is taken is incised by hand or etched by acids. It is then filled with ink, and the surface of the plate wiped clean. Dampened paper is placed on top of the plate, and both are run through a wringer-like press which forces the paper into the channels and grooves to pick up the ink.

Mark is interested and inspired by petroglyphs, created in Paleolithic times by prehistoric artists using stone instruments to scratch symbols and figures into rock surfaces. Like these early artists, Marks quest is to capture the magical visions in the world of his imagination.

An expanded selection on Marks prints and the work of his 24 fellow member artists will be featured atVIVA’s First Thursday reception on July 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 info@vivagallery.net.

Doc Roddy VIVA Gallery June Guest Artist

VIVA Gallery Welcomes Doc Roddy as Guest Artist

VIVA Gallerys First Thursday opening reception will take place on June 7 and will feature the work of watercolorist and musician Doc Roddy.

Doc was born on Kennesaw Mountain and grew up in northern Georgia, in a place where art was not a part of the cultural landscape. Nevertheless, he began to draw and paint at an early age and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia and his MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts). Doc lived in the Bay area from 1971 through 1978, and his first major exhibition was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1971. He then moved to New York City, and in 1980 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Doc remained in New York until 1990, then stopped painting for a decade while he and his wife Terre traveled around and played music. In 2003 Doc and Terre moved to the Driftless area and renovated a shack on their land into a painting studio. Doc (known as Mike in the art world) has exhibited widely, including exhibits at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the University of California Art Museum at Berkely, the New Museum in New York City, Musee dArt Contemporain in Lyon, France, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.

The watercolors of Doc Roddy and the work of VIVA’s 23 member artists will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on June 7 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 info@vivagallery.net.

Winding Roads Art Tour Artists

Winding Roads Art Tour May 19-20
The third annual Winding Roads Art Tour will take place on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20. Twenty area studios will welcome visitors from 10:00am until 5:00pm, giving art enthusiasts a rare opportunity to meet 35 artists, see their work and observe how and where it is made. Artwork will be available for purchase and artists will be on hand for conversations on creativity.
The self-guided tour encompasses thirteen studios in Viroqua and seven more within a 25-mile radius of the city. VIVA Gallery, the tour headquarters at 217 South Main in Viroqua, is perfect place to start as a piece of artwork from every artist on the tour will be on display. Karen Innis will be at the gallery both days, demonstrating her skills in that art of sculpture.
Following the illustrated Art Tour brochure, visitors may visit Viroqua locations and wind their way through the surrounding hills and valleys to other locations, including:
  • Avalanche Looms, featuring the handwovens of Susan Johnson.
  • The studio of Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber-Olds, with their imaginative painted wood
    sculptures and textiles by Leah Evans.
  • Pierce Hill Pottery, with pottery by Maureen Karlstad and woodworking by John Karlstad. Other
    artists at Pierce Hill include mixed media artist Diane Dahl, painter Karen Fitzsimons,
    woodworker Ken Garden and jewelry maker Raelene Roberts.
  • The studio of watercolor artist Doc Roddy
  • The Heavy Duty Press, with letterpress demos and artist books by Mike Koppa
  • Diane Brown ceramics.
  • Charna Pottery, with wheel-throwing demos each day by Charna Schwartz
  • Kettner Home Studio, and the watercolors and oils of Barb Kettner, including portrait demos
  • Joseph Schwarte Custom Furniture, displaying the furniture of Joe Schwarte and the plein air
    painting of Christine Myhr
  • Sunbead Studio, with stained glass and jewelry by M’Lou Wilkie and yard art by K O’Brien
  • Riverweave Studio, featuring the fiber art of Kathy Aaker and plein air oil paintings of Deb
  • Christine Larson Art Studio, with Christine’s bold oil paintings and intricate jewelry
  • John Schneider Pottery and Painting Studio, with guest potter John Steger
  • Hanna Agar Photography, featuring Hanna’s conceptual photography and the woodworking of
    Brendan Karlstad
  • Kathie Wheeler Fine Art Studio, with beautifully painted oil landscapes, still lifes and portraits
  • J&P Studio, exhibiting the dynamic acrylic paintings of Julius Parrish and Pita Daniels
  • Spoken Wood Design, custom furniture from reclaimed wood by Chris Cox
  • Cheesebro Pottery, with beautiful functional pottery by Greg Cheesebro
  • New Leaf Art, with watercolors and mixed media by Diane Splinter
  • Central Park Gallery, showing metal collage and acrylic paintings by Floyd Storey and metal
    sculpture by Elmer Peterson
    Sponsors for this event include Organic Valley, Viroqua Chamber Main Street, VIVA Gallery, Vernon Communications Coop, Celeste Gibson CPS, Citizens First Bank, Ewetopia Fiber Shop, Gary’s Rock Shop,Old Towne Motel and Restaurant, Rooted Spoon Culinary, Viroqua Food Coop, and WCCU Credit Union.
    More information, including an online map, list of artists and list of studios, can be found atwww.windingroadsart.com., you can also find us on Facebook at Winding Roads Art Tour.

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 info@vivagallery.net.