This exhibition of photographic works by Eric Nelson and collage/assemblage works by Josie Osborne looks to the written word, poetry and literature as a stepping off point into, and inspiration for, visual imagery and poetic objects.
Eric Nelson and Josie Osborne are both Wisconsin artists whose work has been influenced by the written word. Nelson, a visual artist and art educator in central Wisconsin, works with alternative and early process photography (such as wet plate collodion prints and cyanotype). Josie Osborne, a Milwaukee artist who teaches at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts, works with intaglio, collage and assemblage responding to poetry, written word and day-to-day life .
Join us for a closing reception on Thursday, May 14 from 6 - 8 pm.
Josie Osborne is a visual artist who exhibits regionally and nationally. She is Director of First Year Program at UW-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts, Department of Art & Design where she also teaches. She served for 12 years on the City of Milwaukee Arts Board and has received Mary Nohl Suitcase Fund support for two travelling exhibitions. Osborne received her Master of Fine Arts in Graphics (printmaking) from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her BFA from UW-Milwaukee.
Select exhibitions include: PSOA Sum Total Faculty exhibitions and Continuum exhibitions, In the Balance, (Walkers Point Center for the Arts), Thread (invitational at UNC-Charlotte); 5IVE (traveling exhibition: Walkers Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee and Flagler College Carrera Gallery, Florida); Art Chicago (Hotcakes Gallery); Art Basel Miami (Hotcakes Gallery); Things Avian and Architectural (solo exhibition at Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts); Proscenium (solo exhibition at Wisconsin Academy of Science, Letters and the Arts), Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Biennial, A Decade of Wisconsin Art (invitational, James Wattrous Gallery, Madison Overture Center), Diabolique (curated by Fred Stonehouse); UWM and MIAD Faculty Exhibitions. Osborne’s work has also been reproduced in literary journals and professional magazines, including The Cream City Review and the Madison Review.
Solace and quiet contemplation provide an antidote to our busy, noisy and increasingly mediated day-to-day experience. We must seek out a balance between fast-paced lives and that rich interior existence that brings together memory, imagination, sensory and poetic awareness of the layers that make up our identity and our understanding of the world. That is what making art does for me.
I look to the written word, found text and poetry as important stepping-off points for my work that both directly reflects my own life experience and the world around me. My work also relies on direct responses to sounds, music or sensory memories that have moved me.
In my assemblage pieces and collages the elements used and the organization or treatment of space often references dreams, architecture, and modernist language of color, simplicity, and mark making. They place a necessary openness to our intangible perceptions in parallel to that which we physically experience in the world.
In the works included in this exhibition, Poem Image/Poem Object, the many powerful experiences that I have had with poetry readings and experimental music performances at Woodland Pattern over the years influenced the making of several of the pieces.
One is never lost or alone following your dreams. The cyanotype (blue) imagery relates to the work of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. This poem of epic proportions and symbolism is written in a grid like pentameter. My work is in response to his allusions between the books and stanzas.
I live in the Lindsey area of Wisconsin. This area of the state is a special place of subtleness. My neighbors are Amish and Mennonite. It is a place arrested in time. As they live without many of modernity’s accouterments and they are happy for it. In my artistic life I am also far from the distractions of modern life as represented by my works in this exhibition.
I use a historic photographic process that dates from before the civil war. Photographic plates are created just before exposure in a dark box. The plates are exposed in the camera and then immediately processed in a darkbox. This wet plate collodion process was the Polaroid or Instagram of the frontier. Each image is a unique original and bears its moment of time. I am interested in exploring tintypes and early photographic processes as a medium because I find the directness of the process enhances the act of looking. The speed of the process with its longer exposure times creates a soft aura, different qualities of light and a sense of stillness that evokes: mystery, memory and a connection through time.
I use the wet plate collodion process on aluminum and glass plates. These images are unique and one of a kind. All the coating and processing of the photographic emulsion is done by hand by myself. For the past nine years I have created and processed all my own work using component chemicals and materials. Once these pieces are created they cannot be duplicated.
Photography is often associated with a truth of object, a likeness, or even as evidence. My work happens between these parameters and off the grid of machine defined creation. I strive for the unexpected or unnoticed in everyday existence.