The Growing Season: Bruce Hustad and Vicki Reed
June 3 - August 30, 2015
Bruce Hustad, Glad Glass, Watercolor

Our northern climate offers a celebration of floral and plant forms in spectacular, seasonal array that are a victory over lingering winter.  Two Cedarburg artists, Vicki Reed and Bruce Hustad, display visually arresting, sometimes larger-than-life depictions of botanical forms in the Cedarburg Art Museum exhibition, "The Growing Season." Watercolor is Hustad's medium of choice while Reed's work encompasses large black and white digital photograms of plants and flowers as well as subtly colored prints from her botanical lumen series.  The special season that brings forth all varieties of botanical growth has inspired these artists to capture that beauty in their art.

Watercolor.  For Bruce Hustad, his own backyard garden flowers are of special interest for his art.  Hustad’s master of fine arts degree in painting and drawing prepared him generally but not specifically for his work in watercolor. The artist stumbled upon watercolor as a natural fit and his favored medium by accident doing a preparatory study for an oil painting.  The artist enjoys the experimentation and fine gradation obtained in wet-on-wet washes that contrast with his detailed, fine work done first.  The artist favors a plain or simple background to give his over life-size image its impact.  Tulips are a favorite flower for their simple elegance.

Digital Photograms.  Vicki Reed is a photographic artist who experiments with alternative techniques to make her art.  She enjoys examining beauty in botanical forms with photograms, showcasing her specimens as black and white images, often in a large size.


The digital photograms in “The Growing Season” are made with a scanner to create a digital image. An enlargement is produced as an archival pigment print from the artist’s own printer.  Reed delights in often finding her subjects on the undersides of plants and leaves because of the hidden, intricate patterns found there.  Reed’s photogram works derive their impact from their oversize and dramatic black, white, and grey tonalities on a simple, black background.

Lumen Prints.  Other works of Vicki Reed in this exhibition are lumen prints on a smaller scale. Lumen prints are made by placing plant and flower forms on photographic paper and exposing them to the sunlight.  The results are ghosts of their original living counterparts.  Reed often thinks of these as a metaphor for fleeting family memories with her aging parents.

Vicki Reed, Tulips, lumen print

A lumen print has the element of serendipity in it. The moisture in the plants, the humidity and outdoor temperature, the type and age of the photographic paper, and the strength and length of the sunlight exposure are all factors that determine a surprising end result.  A lumen print needs to be kept in a sealed, dark box until it is fixed by chemicals or scanned to make a digital image.  Because a fixing solution further distorts and changes the color of the image, Reed first scans the unfixed lumen image in order to make an archival print before she uses the chemical fixer. The results can be different with each process.