the old boat house on Pike Lake' shows off Manitowoc native
Gary John Gresl's basic concepts. His show at the Gail Floether
Steinhilber Art Gallery in Reeve Union runs till March 15. (by
Kyle Redjinski, of the Advance Titan)
in the Gail Floether Steinhilber Art Gallery in Reeve Memorial Union
featuring a Milwaukee-area artist will run Feb. 6 through March
Gary John Gresl,
a 59-year-old Manitowoc native, says most of his nature-based works
have a theme.
incorporate all sorts of objects that out of my experience have
hit a chord,” said Gresl in an interview with The Scene Online.
“They could be things I recall from my childhood or things
I’ve dealt with as an adult.”
Earthly Things exhibits what Gresl calls “assemblages”
or “visual short stories.” Every sculpture contains
many details such as beads, shells, pinecones, yarn or bone. Gresl
frequently uses antlers and stuffed animal heads to convey his sense
of nature. The sculptures range in size from a small, decorated
stepladder to a 12-foot collage surrounding an alligator.
(used the animals) with my own feel and perception of their place,
how they work together,” Gresl said.
cool but it’s kind of freaky at the same time,” said
junior Tiffany Detlor as an initial response to the exhibit. Detlor
also said most of the sculptures seemed like they were based on
the conflict between man and nature and how human influence on nature
causes suffering in nature.
never been to one of these before, but I like the voodoo essence
of this one,” said Lundt, speaking of “Skull from Up
North,” a piece of work containing an old wooden box with
a single bird skull inside.
such as “Culture,” incorporate nature and modern technology.
“Culture” looks like a carnival game thanks to the flashy
red lights, but is arranged around a goat’s head. The effect
is a great contrast; nature and man, man and nature. Debris completes
the piece, as it does most of Gresl’s work. Thanks to his
love of collecting small objects, nothing in the gallery is boring
Gresl says he
is influenced by calligraphy, science, images from his youth, art
from Africa and Indonesia, flower arranging and popular culture.
His work evokes
a sense of nostalgia and longing.
1,” old doll heads and a Mickey Mouse ball bring back childhood
memories of the simple pleasures in life. It was in front of this
sculpture that several students sat and reminisced about the past.
this is one small opportunity to communicate with a small group
of people, just one small part of the ocean of art that is being
produced,” Gresl said.
Born in 1943
Gresl grew up with a great love for the outdoors. He graduated from
UW-Stevens Point and took art classes through UW and Silver Lake
College in Manitowoc.
Gresl taught high school art classes and served as a middle school
principle for two years.
He first started
assemblage by finding objects in a farm dump in 1964, and proceeded
to teach himself the basics of putting it together in an artistic
He also gained
experience in antique dealing and realized that art is in the eye
of the beholder, and can be anything an artist wants it to be.
In recent years,
Gresl said he has been very active in the Wisconsin arts community.
In 2000 he became a co-founder of MVAR, Milwaukee Visual Arts Roundtable.
In 2001, he
was nominated for the Governor's Award in Support of the Arts. Gresl
is also a contributing author to the bimonthly “Art In Wisconsin”
newsletter of Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors, Inc. and is a
spokesperson for adaptive reuse of the Prairies School Old Coast
Guard station on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline for use
as a center for regional art.
has won include many best of show awards and first place awards
in state art competitions.
He has also
participated in Chicago art shows.
All of Gresl’s
art is available for sale. He has a hard time seeing his art as
“commodities” and doesn’t create them with money
He wants to
find a happy home for each of his sculptures where they will be
cared for and appreciated.
Most of the
works are $750 to $5,000.
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