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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pipe-smoking fish and threadbare art: galleries worth viewing

Stumbling upon something original and artistic at The Memorial Union is fairly standard for this timeless location, and now with the addition of Union South, there are even more opportunities to seek out an inventive outlet. Credit for the murals, canvases and galleries displayed all over these two buildings for our enjoyment and inspiration must go to WUD Art Committee.

In total, five galleries are available to view between Memorial Union and Union South. As you enter the main lobby of the Memorial Union on the second floor, make sure to take a right and continue down to observe the Porter Butts Gallery. "Humanimals," created by Gayle Weitz, is currently on display as an exhibition questioning the relationship between a human and an animal. The animals depict life-sized humans to give a different perspective on how we coexist on this planet.

At first glance, it is a little startling to see a 4-foot-tall fish smoking a pipe, but taking a closer look at the figure can only startle one even more. The animals themselves open like a closet to reveal a collage of straight facts and articles based on the definition of animal cruelty. Some photographs are graphic, but are necessary to ingrain this issue in our minds.

If you then venture down the creaky, hardwood steps connected to the Porter Butts Gallery, your enriching experience will continue in the Class of 1925 Gallery. Showing us the raw, physical characteristics of a Wisconsin winter, "Summer Eclipsed," by Kendall McMinimy, makes one crave the distant summer weather. Although most photographs become repetitive because of their unchanging country scenery, they are intended to show either the frustration we face when our lives are halted by inches of snow, or the beauty of a winter wonderland.

For those partial to warmer work, never fear, snow will not get in your way if you hope to view the Theater Gallery, also located in the Memorial Union. This showcase now displays a collaborative effort of WUD Art and WUD Music to present the "Rock Art Renaissance," which reminisces on past concerts that WUD Music has booked.

Though the posters featured are not quite as fierce as the collection's namesake, they do trigger some sentimental memories of WUD shows passed.

Now let us move forward to Union South's Gallery 1308. It is evident this gallery has given artists even more opportunity to present their work because of the technology in use.

My first experience in this gallery was during the grand opening of Union South. Images were displayed in the hallway on small screens that caught my attention because of their convulsive movements. It was a representation of our dependence on media, and left an impression in regards to this subject.

The recently featured collection in Gallery 1308 will also leave an impression as it shows our society's relationship with fabric. "Re-Collections" by Victoria Greising uses any and all kinds of fabric to go beyond our usual expectations of material, and her own interpretations and purposes can be seen within the configuration. There is also plenty of time to view this collection, for it will be available until April 17.

However, not all of the galleries have this long of a window of opportunity, so I advise you to check out these artists before it is too late. Take a little time to silently walk around the human-like animals, winter photographs, rock posters and reconstructed material so you can ponder the meaning of life. Or, just go for the fun of it.

Found a forgotten gallery? Tell Erin at eberge@wisc.edu.

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