Exploring Visual Arts across Madison
Oct 4, 2013
Looking In at Fanny Garver Gallery
While in New York last weekend, I happily became swept up in the energy and movement, in the noise and crowdedness, of the city. So it was a surprise and a delight to see etchings by Art Werger today at Fanny Garver Gallery.
The artist’s work is featured in Interiors/Exteriors, an exhibition opening today and running through October 30, along with paintings by Jessica Polzin. His mostly black and white prints showcase incredible detail and expressiveness.
“New York Story,” a large work of various small scenes—buildings, restaurants, home interiors and everyday happenings, from a man kissing a baby to a waitress setting food on a table—looks exactly like being in New York City feels. Werger captures the flashes of millions of different lives playing out in one shared place.
“Secrets” also offers a range of images, small squares in a six-by-six grid showing people engaged in small, personal, commonplace acts, such as kissing, clinking wine glasses and rubbing eyes. Perhaps it’s their small scale, or the great range of dark to light shades Werger employs, but the piece feels incredibly intimate.
Werger also focuses on singular scenes, but nevertheless adds interest by overlapping images, say, a face over a street scene or a woman over a house. The layering creates a sense of mystery and adds questions to the narratives.
Werger’s detailed scenes of city life—of its buildings and architecture and the lives that play out within them—contrast nicely to Polzin’s colorful paintings. Her works reveal deeply personal interiors, spaces cluttered with personal belongings.
In “La Casitas,” for instance, a woman lounges in bed while a man primps at the bathroom mirror. Plaid curtains cover the windows, but the red front door is wide open.
Like Werger, Polzin also employs layering, but takes a collage-like, almost Cubist approach. Different views of a room overlap, and the fragmented presentation hints at the passing of time or a variety of perspectives. The viewer can’t help but try to fit the pieces together like a puzzle, trying to decipher what’s taking place within these spaces.
Both artists earned graduate degrees in art from UW–Madison, and gallery owner Jack Garver was eager to juxtapose their work. “I thought the two of them would be great together,” he says.
Interiors/Exteriors opens today as part of Gallery Night, a twice-a-year citywide art showcase and celebration organized for the past twenty-five years by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, located just across the street from Fanny Garver.
For more information on Fanny Garver Gallery, visit fannygarvergallery.com. And for details on Galley Night, including full list of participating venues and info on their after-party, mmoca.org/gallery-night.
Photos of "New York Story" by Art Werger and "La Casitas" by Jessica Polzin courtesy of Fanny Garver Gallery.