Splendor in the seasons

(First published in the January 31, 2019 issue of City Pages)

The Center for the Visual Arts’ 29th annual Midwest Seasons exhibit is especially delightful this year


“Autumn Sunrise” by Elizabeth Ivers

Wisconsin and the Midwest experiences all four seasons, from harsh and snowy winters, to hot and humid summers with colorful autumns and green blooming springs in between. That’s what makes living here so magnificent.

For nearly three decades Midwest Seasons has been the Center for the Visual Art’s signature exhibit, showcasing art inspired by these magnificent seasonal impressions.

The diversity of the art makes this exhibit entirely unique and delightful. In the roughly 50 pieces on display, you’ll see paintings, fiber arts, photographs, ceramics, ink drawings, mixed media and more. The artists themselves are from the Midwest—most of them from Wisconsin.

Each piece brings its own charm and flair, and together offers more fun than you might expect.

Crows Feet Bouquet,” a found-object sculpture by Lois Wierzba, is a funky assortment of items such as leaves, hair ties, plastic and a birthday card, all formed into crows feet in a vase. It’s an original and creative way to showcase the objects the artist collected.

“Verily I Sing to Thee,” a mixed media work of a bird on a flower, is colorful and attention-grabbing. Artist Andrea Leet used a floral lace overlay and what appears to be actual insect wings to give the artwork texture and add to its summery impression.

A very striking piece in the exhibit is “Turquois Butterflies” by Mary Hermanson. At first glance, you think it’s a brightly colorful painting, but with a closer look you see it’s a pieced fabric piece, like a quilt.

“Autumn Sunrise” by Elizabeth Ivers also tricks the eye. The soft and soothing clouds in the sky appear to be a photograph until you get up close and realize it’s a watercolor piece with wonderful depth and calming colors.

This year’s Best in Show was the mixed media and assemblage “A Way to Remember” by Brett Henzig. The dreamy three-dimensional work exuded summer vibes with the features of pine trees, constellations and bears. Henzig’s other piece “Wild (Selection of Three from Series)” displays photos of people with animals, such as deer, or fish with their heads swapped. So a man with a fish’s head would be holding up a fish with a man’s head. It’s a curious and inventive piece that gets you thinking about hunting and fishing.

The exhibit also features stunning and spectacular photography that reflect the splendor of the seasons such as “Spring Cleaning,” a photograph of a flower on fire by Kyle Powers, “What Remains,” a digital photograph of a frozen plant by Lee Ann Schulz, and “Wisconsin Sunrise,” a photograph of a sunrise on a farm that almost radiates the warmth of the sun and several more.

With all these vast depictions of the seasons in the Midwest, you’re bound to leave the exhibit feeling thankful for the seasons we get to experience—even the colder ones.

Midwest Seasons is on view at the Center for the Visual Arts thru March 9. Museum hours: Tues.–Fri. 10 am–5 pm; Sat. noon–4 pm. 715-842-4545, cvawausau.org.