Current Exhibitions

45 North Squared

In 2014, 18 of Wisconsin’s best artists were featured in 45 North: THELMA Summer Invitational. The 45 pieces, and the show were a unique combination of different media and conceptual frameworks that gave audiences a taste of the noteworthy and diverse nature of local art. That exhibit also received an honorable mention from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as the year's best show.

This year, 45 North2 aims to go above and beyond the accomplishments of last year’s show with more artists and more stunning work. The original artists have chosen additional artists to be featured alongside them, with pieces stretching both THELMA levels. 

Exhibit Dates: June 25 - September 5, 2015
Reception Date: June 25, 5 - 8 pm

Meet the artists...

Jordan Adams

Jordan Adams is an artist living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. Jordan constructs paintings which explore themes related to existentialism and the psychology of personality. Recent imagery has focused on imagined ruin-architecture within a fragmented landscape. Jordan received his BFA in painting and drawing from the Milwaukee Institute of Art of Design before receiving his MFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison. In the coming months Jordan will be participating in residency programs with The Anderson Ranch Arts Center and The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Read more.  

Sam Adams

Samuel T. Adams’ work is the result of labor-laden paint application and erasure, often relying on primitive stencils and various methodologies of a printmaker. Born in Cincinnati, he received his MFA from School of Visual Arts in New York City, and recently had a solo exhibition at DUTTON in New York City. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Read more.

Joshua Albers

Joshua Albers uses information technology to investigate the nature of constructed realities and rendered environments. His recent work explores the poetic potential of generative data visualization and re-purposed consumer hardware such as 3d sensors and GPS devices. Albers completed a BFA at Missouri State University in 2004 and an MFA in New Media Arts at University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. In 2012, he participated in Google Summer of Code and the ACRE residency in Steuben, Wisconsin. Since the fall of 2014, Albers has taught digital arts and code as an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Media Arts at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Peter Barrickman

Peter Barrickman lives and works in Milwaukee. He has a BFA from UW-Milwaukee and an MFA from Bard College. Primarily a painter, he’s also worked with film, performance, music, sculpture and installation. Through painting, Barrickman is interested in the possibility of unifying a multitude of isolated, subjective glimpses. His work looks at the ways in which we collectively experience, inhabit and amend common cultural or societal routines and structures. Barrickman teaches painting at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. His work is represented in Milwaukee by Green Gallery. Read more.

Kimberly Benson

Kimberly Benson currently works in Minneapolis, MN. She received a Master of Fine Arts in 2015 from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008 from the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, MN. Her current work was created with two questions in mind: What does radical separation look like and how can beauty exist within perversity? Her process has become a type of chaos management; multiple layers are built up and taken back in search of unexpected spacial arrangements. By dissolving and disintegrating the figure-ground relationship an unsettling territory within abstraction is discovered. The guttural-like combinations of mark- making, range of texture and thickness, and intersecting lines create dynamic visual rhythms and conflicting structures. The work can simultaneously suggest ideas of disorder, decay, desire, and the sublime. While her work recalls the history of painting, specifically the richness of the 17th century Dutch still life genre, she is after an image that is beyond these subjects. Read more.  

Tom Berenz

Born in Fond du Lac, WI, Tom Berenz earned a BFA at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Berenz is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. “My paintings are about my relationship to the world around me; cerebral and physical, intellectual and visceral. I use the disaster motif as a metaphor to discuss personal, sociopolitical, environmental and ideological issues. Through the motif of disaster, I explore the existential self and examine personal narratives, with some being more literal and others more enigmatic. Notions of loss, place, memory, space and time are central as I reexamine personal experiences from my past and present. The imagery is in constant flux, but always returns to a pile. A pile is everything and it is nothing. It is a mound that once was and now isn’t; a mass of information, both physical and metaphysical, organized and chaotic." Read more.   

Derrick Buisch

Madison artist Derrick Buisch works primarily in painting, drawing, and installation. He earned his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA from the University of Minnesota, and has been working in abstraction for over a decade. Investigations in drawing, structure, and color give his work a sense of depth that is simultaneously engaging and unsettling. Texture is created by varied applications of paint, with elusive shapes and a multitude of colors. Read more.  

Willy Carpenter

Willy Carpenter lives and works in Milwaukee, and attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Read more. 

Tony Conrad

Tony Conrad’s pattern-centric paintings and drawings are the result of an ongoing interest in various cultural and historical movements including Persian textiles, Tibetan Buddhism, psychedelic rock culture, and meditative states. Conrad received his MFA degree in painting and drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2009.  Currently, Conrad is a Lecturer of Art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Conrad’s work has been exhibited in various solo, group, and invitational exhibitions and has won a number of awards including the Lawrence Rathsack Scholarship and the Frederick R. Layton Fellowship. Recently, his paintings have been exhibited at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, as well as the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Read more.  

Michael Davidson

A resident of Milwaukee, Davidson works in painting and drawing. He earned his BFA in painting from UW Milwaukee, and is currently a professor and chair of fine arts at MIAD. Davidson’s sketches explore ideas of light and space with high- and low-value neutrals, and his paintings achieve the same effects while introducing bright colors. Elements of mood are brought into his work with thick brushstrokes and hazy spots of color that seem to float on the surfaces of his paintings. Read more.  

Ben Grant

Ben Grant was born in Canton, NY in 1980. He is a painter and a Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at University of Wisconsin Madison.  Ben’s paintings have been included in exhibits across the country including Wisconsin, Chicago, and New York.  Most recently his work has been included in The Wisconsin Triennial at The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  He is represented by Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee and lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin. Read more.

Emily Debroux Held

Emily Debroux Held is from Aurora, IL. She graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2014 and is living in Milwaukee. She paints from life and then photographs and edits those images, finally making a new painting based on the adapted version of the original. Working this way allows her to compare processes of representing reality. She experiences making in a more traditional sense, working from life and then trying to replicate sight using paint. Through computer editing and photographs, she has the ability to maneuver and change the image in ways that would be impossible in the external world. She is interested in how an artist represents his or her own interpretation of reality, the created object being a souvenir of the experience. In a broader way, she is interested in how screens and technology revolutionize the way we experience the world.

Breehan James

Breehan James was born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. She attended Yale University School of Art for her MFA and Massachusetts College of Art for her BFA. Breehan makes oil paintings in her studio and works on paper from life. Breehan James currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. From wilderness to studio, Breehan James creates dazzling paintings that document her experiences exploring the wilderness of the Northwoods. Rugged boreal forests, beautiful night skies reflected in lakes, deer hunters and cottages in the woods populate her paintings and accordingly find ways to communicate a psychological state of being both lost and found in nature.  The paintings included in this exhibition are from a series of "cottage paintings" from her cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Read more.

Frank Juarez

An artist and gallery owner based in Sheboygan, Frank Juarez works mostly in oil painting, drawing, and photography. Originally from Milwaukee, Juarez was educated at Carroll University and Marian University. Some of his most recent works combine painting and photography, and comment on the beauty of landscape while adding language to direct the viewer’s thoughts and discussions. His paintings are driven by a collection of certain things he feels can influence his work, and in his studio he reduces those visuals into paintings with a minimalistic approach. Read more. 

Greg Klassen

Milwaukee artist Gregory Klassen works mostly in painting, producing large and abstract pieces that are often dark. Klassen was one of the last artists to study under Gerhard Richter at the University of Düsseldorf in the early 1990s, and his paintings often layer colors and textures that give his work a sense of nature and life. Read more.  

Kay Knight

Kay Knight has been teaching Painting and Drawing in the Visual Art Department at UW-Milwaukee since 1992. Knight received her M.F.A. in Painting in 1991 from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Influenced by apocalyptic novels and real time disasters, her paintings have begun to comment on society’s collective fear of defeat. In some of her works the dwellings are left standing and still salvageable. Wooden structures expose interior wallpapered space, which helps the viewer to interpret the private fantasies and social status of the tenant’s life before the disruption. In other paintings, houses are destroyed beyond rescue.  What remains are colorful pieces of structure remnants.  These fractured parts become the residue of our past as well faceted patterns of light reflecting a brighter future. Rebuilding is still possible. Her current studio practice of using vintage wallpaper and contact paper combined with paint in the construction of the paintings presents the challenge of using disparate materials to create a unified surface while juxtaposing expressive hand-painted marks with machine-made wallpaper patterns. This process of integration has become her method of visually and conceptually developing her subject, “home.” Read more.  

Richard Knight

Richard Knight's paintings, drawings, and sculptural objects, share components of an expressive language that moves from one medium to others: creating a visual poetry based on the interchange of translatable parts as the means toward invention and discovery. He completed graduate studies at Indiana University, which was proceeded by undergraduate studies at Queens College, NY and Missouri State University. The artist lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. Read more.  

Kim Miller

Kim Miller Moves across the fields of video and performance. She received her BFA from Cooper Union in New York City and her MFA from Vermont College. Miller has shown videos, performed live and combinations thereof on national tours and international shows, from China to Milwaukee. She has taught in the humanities and design department at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, the film and graphic design departments in the United States at UW-Milwaukee, and in the foundations, fine art, liberal studies and design departments of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and currently serves as the Chair of Fine Art and New Studio Practice at MIAD. The video included in this exhibition, "Reading with Dr.MK", works with the writing of Melanie Klein, a psychoanalyst that focused on children. Using the form of learning-to-read graphics, what's being read is quickly confused.

Chris Natrop

Chris Natrop was born in 1967 in Milwaukee. He grew up in Hartland, Wisconsin and relocated to California after receiving his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1992. His artwork is centered on the act of cutting paper. Executed free form and exclusively with a knife, his process has evolved into a stream-of-consciousness drawing technique that has developed over the past several years. Chris displays his “knife drawings” directly on the wall, or combines multiple pieces into three-dimensional, floor-to-ceiling installations. Chris has shown his work throughout the US and Europe and has recently completed a series of commissioned public sculptures in Dubai, Houston, and Los Angeles. Chris currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mari Forge (who grew up just south of Fond du Lac in Eden) and their son Orion. Read more.  

Keith Nelson

Keith Nelson is originally from Raymond, Wisconsin and currently lives in Milwaukee. He received a BFA in painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2000. His current work combines the sensibilities of painting with the materiality of sculpture. Read more.  

Mollie Oblinger

Mollie Oblinger’s artwork explores the undermining of our environment. By continually researching unique locations, each series of works reflects a new set of discoveries and speaks specifically to place.  Her work in this exhibition was constructed during a residency at Playa in Oregon.  Oblinger is an associate professor at Ripon College in Wisconsin. She received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Davis in 2005 and a BFA in Sculpture in 1998 from Syracuse University. Oblinger’s recent exhibitions include shows at the Sierra College in Rocklin, CA, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the South Bend Museum of Art in Indiana.  She is represented by the Angela Meleca Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Read more.  

James Pederson

James Pederson was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1990. He received his B.F.A from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2012. He currently lives and works in Milwaukee. Working primarily in painting and video, his practice examines the nuances between various media platforms and their effects on our relationship to images. He is interested in painting as an archaic mode of producing images; its chunkier, more dimensional surface stands in stark contrast to the slickness of screens and photographs that pervade our experience of contemporary media culture. Gestural brush strokes and painted passages layered on top of one another keep passivity at bay, constantly directing our attention to how the image was cobbled together from a series of discursive moves. Read more.  

Miguel Ramirez

Miguel Ramirez is from Chicago, Illinois. He received his BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2013. He currently has a studio at The Pitch Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ramirez’s current work spans the fields of sculpture, product design, and spatial design. Through sampling current social media iconography and everyday mass produced objects, Ramirez attempts to arrive at a new understanding of sculpture and how these objects affect our lives. Read more.

Andrew Redington

Redington works mostly in metalwork and functional art. He received his MFA in art metals from UW Madison and is currently an associate professor of art at UW Oshkosh. Redington’s work is influenced by nature and natural forms, and is focused on the idea of optimism in the coexistence of humans and nature. Read more.  

Chris Regner

Chris Regner is from Milwaukee, which is also where he currently resides; He earned his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2013. Working within the mediums of painting, drawing, and collage, his work explores themes of deception, illusion, and confidence tricks. He likens these tools of manipulation to the visual equivalents of trompe-l'œil and digital collage by referencing tropes of optical and physical trickery. Much like a magician would use sleight of hand to misdirect an audience’s perception and attention, he uses collage as a way to confuse the viewer as to the creation of the painting as well as its conceptual intent. Read more. 

Kristina Rolander

Kristina Rolander is an interdisciplinary artist based in Milwaukee, WI. She creates ephemeral, poetic, and interactive installation-based works that repeatedly portray a state of flux. Referencing both personal narrative and popular culture, she layers paradoxical sentiment upon space, creating a push-and-pull reminiscent of the struggles encountered in navigating human connection and relationships today. She was born in Santa Cruz, CA in 1979 and moved to Burlington, WI at the age of 8. In 2001, she earned her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and currently resides in the neighborhood of Bay View. Read more.

Lucas Ruminski

Lucas Ruminski currently lives and works in Milwaukee, WI and received a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2013. Ruminski makes paintings with a material construction aberrant to those common of painting by using preparative materials such as gesso, printmaking plates, and chroma key paint for an aesthetic and metaphorical function. He creates imagery of often humorous contradictions between pessimism and optimism that present a type of Americana with subject matter such as sports, cinema, and allegory to name a few. He is interested in simultaneously creating opposition and accord, which he often achieves by working in a diptych format. Ruminski also works in sculpture and video. Read more.  

Rafael Francisco Salas

Rafael Francisco Salas is a Wisconsin-based painter who received his MFA from the New York Academy of Art. He combines landscape, the legacy of Byzantine iconography, portraiture, architecture and country music into artwork that evokes a strange, rural poetry. It reflects a personal journey of mixed race identity, conflict, beauty, and devotion played out on the vast landscapes of rural Wisconsin. Salas is a contributing writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and associate professor of art at Ripon College. His work is represented by the Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee. Read more.  

Marla Sanvick

Marla Sanvick was born in Minnesota and is currently based in Milwaukee, WI. She received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2006 and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012. Working across media, Marla creates installations that consist of personal and imaginative narratives. Utilizing speculative designs, she constructs spaces to wonder about and re-imagine the everyday and the forever after. Creating “emotional prosthetics,” Marla reflects on our culture's fascination and desire for the continual improvement of bodies and minds. Through her writing and visual art practices, Marla also examines the impulse to strive for a state of constant and complete preparedness...and conversely, the failure which is inevitable when striving for the impossible. Employing humor and humility, asking questions, however flawed and destined for failure her attempts at preparedness may be, Marla is always attempting to put forth solutions through her work. Read more.  

Sarah Stankey

Sarah Stankey is an Exhibitions Editor and a Contributing Writer for LENSCRATCH and received her BFA in photography from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2013. She is now living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. Her photographs have been exhibited in group shows throughout Wisconsin and in New York City, including the Perspectives Gallery and Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee, the Overture Center in Madison and Soho Photo Gallery in New York. Sarah’s work has also been featured on numerous online platforms including Art Photo Index, ND Magazine, Aint-Bad Magazine, LENSCRATCH and F-Stop Magazine. Captivated by the natural world around her, the majority of Sarah’s work revolves around nature and its abilities to expose its ever-changing wonder. Curiosity inspires her work as she considers humans coexistence with nature. Read more.  

Lynn Tomaszewski

Tomaszewski is an interdisciplinary artist who received a BFA in fine art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited nationally and explores how perception constructs ideas. Her paintings, installations, coding, and video work often accumulate images or actions into unified fields that function as visual field theory on human behavior. Lynn Tomaszewski is the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Previous to her appointment at SAIC, she held the post of professor and chair of the foundations department at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Read more.  

Jason Vaughn

Vaughn is a fine art documentary photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Originally from California, Vaughn was educated at various community colleges around Southern California. He photographs hunting stands and everyday people and places as a reflection on legacies and family. His work captures the essence of rural Wisconsin, and the lifestyles of the people that live there. Read more.  

Shane Walsh

Shane Walsh is a Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received his BFA from MIAD and his MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle. He makes paintings that reference digital and analog forms of representation (Photoshop, commercial printing) and combines these with the signs and symbols of 20th century abstraction. Walsh aims to create something uncanny in his work by remixing these historical signs while calling attention to the way our experience of abstract painting is determined by a variety of media. Read more.  

Carey Watters

Carey Watters is assistant professor of graphic design and typography at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Her current book and collage work weave together concepts regarding memory, historic map making, and religious and pagan symbolism.  The reliquary as a container of cultural artifacts and personal memories is the overlying theme of this exhibition “Paper Reliquaries”. She is a collector of the past, an alchemist and artisan of contemporary craft. Her obsession to detail is noted and admired. She meticulously cuts, folds, sews and adheres many small parts and recontextualizes her collected content to create new narratives. She wants viewers to look at the work with a sense of curiosity and wonderment. This body of work is a direct result of her residencies and travels to Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia, Italy and her research of Byzantine architecture, design, and religious reliquaries. We are taken back to a history of existing books and maps, pages from the bible, Victorian parlor games, and journals of traveling sales man. Read more.  

Sean Weber

Sean Weber lives and works in Milwaukee, and attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Mike Womack

Womack was born in Houston in 1976 and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and Boulder, Colorado. He has a master's degree in fine arts from the Pratt Institute and a bachelor's in fine arts from the University of Georgia. Both degrees in painting. Womack has had solo exhibits in New York and Connecticut and his work has been part of group exhibits throughout the United States, and in Canada and Mexico. Read more. 

Scott Zeiher

Scott Zieher is co-owner of the contemporary art gallery ZieherSmith, established in 2003, and recently named one of the top 10 galleries to see in Chelsea by the New York Times. Since 2004 he has published three book-length poems, VIRGA, IMPATIENCE and GENTRY (Emergency Press). In February 2010, powerHouse Books published BAND OF BIKERS, his collection of found photographs from 1972. In 2012 the Jaded Ibis Press collaboration with novelist Christopher Grimes, THE PORNOGRAPHERS featured Zieher’s collages. Zieher has had solo exhibitions at Judith Charles Gallery on the Lower East Side and Engineer’s Office Gallery in Rockefeller Center and at Ampersand Gallery in Portland, which included publication of a collection of poems and catalog of collages called WHAT TO WANT. In 2015, Zieher’s work was featured in a solo exhibition of 128 drawings at Thelma, as well as a four-person collaborative exhibition with the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Recent poetry has appeared in The Believer, Jubilat, KNOCK and The Iowa Review. Zieher was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and received his MFA in poetry from Columbia University in 1996. He lives in Manhattan with his wife (and co-owner of the gallery) Andrea, their sons, Tennessee and Crockett and a puppy named Robert. Read more. 



Shane McAdams

Shane McAdams' work is about landscape in the broadest sense of that loaded term. He grew up in the desert Southwest, ringed by a horizon interrupted only occasionally by sandstone outcroppings. As a child he was visually taken by this sculpted topography, amazed when his father informed him that the layered strata of rock had been fashioned by years of water and wind. His current work is a visual dialogue between natural and artificial forms, natural and artificial materials – those that look like nature versus those that are nature. In his work such forms are often analogs or traces of the methods of their creation, taking root in the physical properties inherent within specific, mundane materials such as Elmer’s glue, correction fluid, ballpoint pen ink and plastic resin, whose limits are stretched by subjecting them to non-traditional applications. These applications generate structures whose complexities belie the simplicity of their creation. The processes he engages reflects the physical forces that are constantly working to fashion and sculpt the natural landscape. He hopes that his work encourages one to consider the nature of what is artificial and what is natural, or universal, in painted and unpainted realms. Read more.  














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