Thursday, May 31, 2012

Citizen Artists


On a grey, wet day last autumn, a disparate group of citizens gathered beneath a shelter at a public park in Melon WI. You know somebody, they know somebody. Word gets around. Interested parties show up at the appointed time & place.

At issue was Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal that we should sell the Penokee Hills lock stock & barrel to the Cline Group out of Florida to do with pretty much as they pleased and sell it damned cheaply, too. Not to mention the wholesale abrogation of 40 years of Wisconsin environmental legislation thrown in to seal the deal.

The question was: how might we respond to this, using our own special gifts lifted together as voice to speak for these Hills? Every citizen has a right to speak. With artists, that’s what we do for a living, one way or the other.

“Penokee: Explore the Iron Hills” is one result from that initial gathering. The exhibition will receive its preview this Saturday June 2nd in the Rotunda of the State Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. Opening reception is from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

As space constraints in the Rotunda prevented us from mounting the entire show, I’ll defer speaking about it at any length ‘til when the whole thing takes up an extended residency at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland.

But for this show to premier in this place on this date is exquisite timing, as next Tuesday the good citizens of Wisconsin will decide whether or not to recall Gov. Walker in part because too many of his supporters think a middle finger thrust in the air passes for adult conversation:




Traveling through northern WI over the last weeks, it’s obvious that there’s a hotly contested election going on, as signs touting Gov. Walker or Mayor Barrett sprout everywhere.

For instance, in Ashland I couldn’t help but notice the local Pawn emporium’s property was festooned with signage declaring that they “Stand with Gov. Walker” and I’m thinking, “Yeah, as well you ought, considering”.

On a personal note, the very 1st traveling shoot I ever did with the Linhof brought me to Madison at the end. That would be autumn, early 90’s. As you can see, the concept of perspective control escaped me.


I went on to master my craft and gained that control, which mature perspective now happily brings me ‘round full circle back to Madison.

I’m told the Farmer’s Market in Madison's Capitol Square is quite the thing. If you’re in the neighborhood, please drop on by…

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