Guest Artist Watercolorist Pete Sandker

Afterlife

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.



Redwings

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
    Conlon
  • 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. 







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 info@vivagallery.net.