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New Foster Gallery Exhibit Features Artists
with Unique Personal Visions

RELEASED: March 1, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — An exhibit titled "Inside Looking Out" opens March 3 in the Foster Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The exhibit runs through April 3 and includes paintings, sculptures and installations by Tom Butt, David Dunlap, UW-Eau Claire professor of art Mike Christopherson, T.C. Farley, Norbert Kox and Anna Lynn Miller. An opening reception will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. March 3 in the Foster Gallery. There will be artist presentations throughout the day Friday, March 4, starting with a discussion in the gallery from 10-11:45 a.m.

The selections of co-curators Christopherson and Farley focus on the expressive voice of artists who relish the idea of unconfined experience. Self taught artists and artists working together in the confines of art schools merge together in this exhibition to explore vocabularies firmly rooted in religious expression, mythology, popular culture, desire and personal vision. "Inside Looking Out" is an attempt to erase boundaries in art and the expectations of institutional convention.

Butt, of Oshkosh, lives a rather reclusive life as an author and artist, responding to the "daily download of what is happening to humanity." The theme of "otherness" has presented itself in Butt's writing and art for many years. "Lostness and cultural displacement" are also conveyed in images from the commercial, mystical and mythological worlds. His prophecy, delivered in a popular culture vocabulary, witnesses the impoverishment of urban life.

Christopherson will exhibit a mixed media sculptural installation inspired by a quote from Butt. The piece is titled "The Sweet Taste of Shared Corruption."

From Green Bay, Kox has been described by art critic Richard Metzger as "America's most important visionary artist." Kox's scripture-based paintings and sculptures explore God's message and warnings. He has had more than a dozen solo exhibitions since 1989 and has shown in six exhibitions since the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore opened in 1995. His artwork has been exhibited internationally in Germany, England, Australia and the Bahamas.

Dunlap is an associate professor of art at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. He has stated that he travels the country guided by mental images, inclinations, and notions of being a walnut farmer "suddenly living among giant walnut trees." His recent explorations reference the art and life of self-taught artist Sister Gertrude Morgan, who spent much of her life as a missionary on the streets of New Orleans. Dunlap's installations are a concoction of two and three dimensional images.

Born and raised in Augusta, Miller was viewed as an eccentric, appearing on Main Street in "bright colored clothing, abundant jewelry and flamboyant hand-made hats." For thirty years, Miller created art in almost total isolation, painting familiar scenes of Eau Claire County and family portraits from memory and imagination. Baltimore's American Visionary Museum has exhibited her paintings, and she also is represented in several publications, among them the "Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists" and "Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists."

Before moving to the Eau Claire Area Health Care Center, Miller donated thirty of her paintings to Viterbo College, LaCrosse. She expressed her desire that the work be "kept out of the hands of the New York dealers" and preserved for "the children who never see real paintings."

Farley is an associate professor at UW-Oshkosh. He earned his master's degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Farley is showing a group of sculptures titled "Tar Baby/ Fatal Allurement." In this series the viewer finds that mortal man is fatally attracted to the tar female and forever stuck. In the end all that remains is his skeleton. Every sculpture includes lead, the only natural barrier to radioactivity, serving as a personal reminder of Farley's commitment to the environment.

Foster Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, 6-8 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4:30 p.m. weekends. For more information about the show, contact Mike Christopherson at (715) 836-5411. For more information about gallery exhibits, call Tom Wagener at (715) 836-2328.

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KP/NW

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