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Magnetic North: The Landscapes of Tom Uttech
July 10 October 3, 2004
This summer, the Milwaukee Art Museum features the work of one of the most widely admired landscape painters in America. Magnetic North: The Landscapes of Tom Uttech, on view July 10 - October 3, 2004, presents a survey of more than 30 years of Uttech's art. The exhibition includes 60 of Uttech's paintings and 30 photographs spanning the past three decades. Tom Uttech reestablishes the wilderness as a mystical place where the animal kingdom reigns, the colors of nature flourish and the various forces of nature are played out. (right: Tom Uttech, Bimawanidiwag Awessiiag, 1996. oil on canvas. Lent by Ruth Mutch, Sheridan, WY.)
"Uttech merges 19th-century notions of the ideal landscape with aspects of surrealism and photo-realism to create his unique vision of the North Woods," said David Gordon, Milwaukee Art Museum director and CEO. "Summer visitors are sure to enjoy this immersion in nature, unexpectedly inside the Milwaukee Art Museum's galleries."
Uttech is inspired by the prairie and northern woods of Wisconsin, and his numerous camping and canoeing trips to northern Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. The exhibition is being presented by the Milwaukee Art Museum and We Energies as part of "A Celebration of Nature," which also includes the exhibition Judy Pfaff - Gregory Conniff: Camera and Ink on view May 21 - August 29, 2004.
Uttech's painting process is different from many contemporary
landscape artists' in that he does no preparatory drawings, studies or photographs
while on his nature excursions. Rather, his paintings are translations onto
canvas of his emotional response to the experience of being in these environments.
Through this intuitive process, Uttech's innate understanding of and unique
connection to nature is revealed. The intricate detail achieved by the artist's
precise painterly touch brings alive the sounds, smells and atmosphere of
the places depicted in the paintings. For the viewer, this sensation is
as palpable in Uttech's small paintings as it is in his 10-foot canvases.(right: Tom Uttech, Nin Mamakadenima,
2002-2003. oil on canvas. Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur S. Pier, New York.)
In addition to paintings, the exhibition also features a selection of photographs by the artist, many of which have never before been shown. Although they depict the same subject matter, the photographs are quite separate from the seemingly airless environments in the paintings. Shot in black and white, many first appear to be abstract compositions which, upon closer inspection, reveal themselves to be moss growing on a rock's surface, or a random pile of fallen twigs and branches. In both the paintings and the photographs, the viewer is placed in the role of observer, fortunate enough to get a glimpse into these magnificently unspoiled environments.
Tom Uttech has long been an advocate of environmental responsibility and a participant in watchdog conservation groups concerned with land development and other issues. He is also an ornithology expert who holds records in bird identification. His work is a reflection of his close ties to nature.
Organization and Publication
Magnetic North: The Landscapes of Tom Uttech is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and curated by Margaret Andera, curator. A full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition and features an essay by Lucy Lippard.
Other Summer Exhibits
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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.