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The Art of the Relief Print
Ray Gloeckler, Linda Kelen, and S.V. Medaris
September 2 - November 8, 2015

Relief printmaking in Wisconsin today is well represented in this Cedarburg Art Museum exhibition of three artists working with the varied possibilities of wood cuts, wood engravings, linocuts, white-line and Japanese woodblock prints as well as relief prints in assemblage and over life-sized sculptural works.  The “Art of the Relief Print” features works of master printmaker Raymond Gloeckler from Portage, S.V. Medaris from rural Dane County, and Linda Kelen from rural Iowa County.

Ray Gloeckler, Professor Emeritus of Art at UW-Madison, presents bold, early-career woodcuts with his later, exquisite wood engravings. Gloeckler’s whimsical and satirical imagery commonly depicts animals personified to show the follies and foibles of humankind. His 2008 woodcut No Matter How You Vote, the Government Wins takes a jab at the indecisiveness of both political parties in Congress. The artist commonly depicts himself in his works, often in an unflattering manner, and sometimes disguised as a bird (This Old Bird Still Bites, a 2010 wood engraving) or animal to make a strong statement

Ray Gloeckler, No Matter How You Vote, the Government Wins, woodcut.

Animals of the farm are frequent subjects and often over life-sized in the reduction woodcuts and linocuts of S.V. Medaris, reflecting her own involvement in animal husbandry near Mount Horeb. Medaris also takes relief printing to the third dimension in assemblage and sculptural works like Cock O’ the Walk or Pulltoy Pig. Her Taliesin Goose reduction woodcut was chosen for the Birds in Art national tour in 2014-2015 organized by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau. Works like Dog & Pony Show or Pas de Deux incorporate the artist’s love of typography into a fine art print, her latter work being inspired by Alphonse Mucha’s decorative, art nouveau style posters of the early 20th Century.  

S.V. Medaris, Pulltoy Pig, 8’x5’x6”, woodcut on feedsacks with other upcycled materials.

Linda Kelen utilizes traditional black-inked woodcuts for story-telling in her Strong, Brave & Handsome series of images about her dog lost for 40 days and 40 nights (yes, Biblical allusions abound). Kelen also adapts the uniquely American white-line woodblock technique into sublime, colorful Wisconsin landscapes and scenes of small towns in the Driftless Are where she lives. Kelen and Medaris often find new purposes for previously used items, upcycling them into the presentation of their artwork.  

Pulltoy Pig, 8’x5’x6”, woodcut on feedsacks with other upcycled materials. Linda Kelen, Mill Creek at Coon Rock Road, white-line woodblock print.  
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