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Sculptures: Dan McGuire, Gary John Gresl, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

by James Auer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Inventiveness and resourcefulness characterize the found-object sculptures of both Dan McGuire and Gary John Gresl, but there the similarity ends.

McGuire, who teaches studio art at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, deals astutely and satirically with personal choices and options in the context of circus-clown imagery.

Gresl, more intuitive and reflective, stresses nostalgia and emotional recall. Deeply enmeshed in the antiques business, he finds working material of all sorts close at hand.
Both men produce work that rewards close scrutiny. Their show, running through Saturday at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, is a diverting jumble of re-used and re-conceptualized objects.

McGuire’s creations are extravagant and fanciful, homages simultaneously to Sigmund Freud and Rube Goldberg. The emphasis is on extravagant caricature and flamboyant juxtapositions of everyday objects. His creations evoke laughter with just a touch of poignancy.

Gresl tends to be an emotional provocateur rather than a political activist. He seems less interested in the excesses of consumerist capitalism than he is in the psychic vibrations that emanate from a giant bone unearthed in Widow Fisher’s quarry, or his memories of the moment he first saw a nude photograph of Marilyn Monroe in the notorious calendar.
The show is a diverting few minutes with two good-humored jacks of all trades. The cluttered presentation is something of a drawback. But then, clutter is what this sort of elaborately collaged and sometimes-appliquéd work is all about.

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