The Museum of Wisconsin Art proves art really is all about 'Artists without Borders'

NOW: The Museum of Wisconsin Art proves art really is all about ’Artists without Borders’

WEST BEND (CBS 58)--“Artists without Borders: Reflections on Art and Place” features nine artists with deep roots abroad. Their work reflects the global perspectives and diverse influences of the multicultural artist. The exhibition is a testament to the diversity—of backgrounds, interests, and styles—that is representative of Wisconsin art today.

Borders are a recurrent theme. Neither inherently good nor bad, borders are opportunities for hospitality as well as exclusion. Borders shown on maps offer a topographic definition of place in expressive, abstract lines; understanding place and its multitude of meanings is an entirely different matter.

Some artists find a productive tension in cultural difference, including the disorientation of being immersed in a foreign language and unfamiliar practices. Other artists adapt to their life in America the techniques and textures of their native cultures, such as traditional tilework patterns and hand-rolled paper coils. Important landmarks are a perennial inspiration, from the grandeur of a legendary mountain range to the thronelike presence of a gilt barber chair.

Every work is revelatory of the artist’s identity. Self-portraits, in particular, show the artist as they wish to be seen. The use of masks to obscure identity yields a paradoxical sort of self-portraiture by both revealing and concealing the subject. It is a reminder that the face we publicly present may be deceptive, especially for code-switching, culture-straddling artists.

Seven of the nine artists represented are first-generation immigrants born outside the US who draw artistic influence from their country of origin. The exhibit is at the Museum of Wisconsin Arts and runs through July 3rd. The address is at 205 Veterans Avenue in West Bend. And starting on Wednesday at St. Kate…The Arts Hotel in downtown Milwaukee…similar works will be displayed until early August. Click here for all the details.

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