Summer art orgy

Romano Johnson and Skully Gustafson

tina turner

Opening Reception: Friday, July 18, 2014, 6 to 9 p.m.

Gallery Night: July 25, 6 to 9 p.m.

Review and video

Romano Johnson, Silver Art Bible and Skully Gustafson, The Juice, will open with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 18 at Portrait Society Gallery. The shows run through September 13.

Portrait Society is located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward at 207 E. Buffalo Street, FIFTH Floor, Marshall Building. It is one of the city’s most progressive contemporary art spaces. Hours are Thursday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Call 414 870-9930 for information.

Both Romano Johnson and Skully Gustafson bring performative qualities to their paintings and their lives. The artists expand

Romano Johnson, 48 x 60 in., (purple angel)the boundaries of their practices by turning themselves into works of art. By painting his clothes and shaving patterns into his hair, Romano Johnson visually blends with his glitter-induced paintings of super stars, motorcycles and imagined places. Skully, in collaboration with his partner Erik Moore, dresses (and undresses) in layered collages of fabric, fishnet and silk, often using studio installations as sets for performances and photo shoots.

romano johnson, hair design

Romano Johnson, hair design.

Romano Johnson will show a suite of new large-scale paintings of Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Prince, as well as several drawings. Portrait Society first introduced his work in a group show last summer. Johnson, 35, moved from Chicago to Madison at aged 12, which is when he started making art. “Mano,” as friends call him, works out of the non-profit studio in Madison called Artworking, Inc. 

Johnson says of his work, “I want people to see happiness and joy for all families when they look at my work. When I draw a face, I want the viewer to feel a happiness that makes them want to clap their hands for all the faces in the world.”

get-attachment-4Skully Gustafson’s exhibition, The Juice, will transform the white box of the gallery into a Pee Wee Herman meets Jean-Michel Basquiat meets My Little Pony fantasy land of art-making. Paintings, collages, objects, ‘blobs,’ costumes, videos and, most likely, a live performance or two will mark Skully’s summer occupancy at Portrait Society.

Gustafson says of this project: “The Juice installation is a room that is a full blown art orgy.  The entire space is important and treated equal to the creatures within it, as well as the vessel that channels the information from the source, myself.  I see myself in relation to The Juice land as an anthropomorphic entity.  I am the physical maker skully Gustafson get-attachment-1and model of it and am integrated into it as a mythical creature. Archeologist within the archeology.  I am studying this foreign land and unveiling artifacts within.  It’s a psychic and organic process of digging into the grime of creation and pulling out evidence.”

Crocodile_Man_szd

Erik Moore, from Half Human, 2014.

Gustafson’s partner and collaborator, the photographer Erik Moore, will concurrently show portraits of Skully in these created environments as well as a body of black and white images, “Half Human,” in The Lounge.

For additional information, please call Gallery Director Debra

Brehmer at 414 870-9930, or email portraitsocietygallery@gmail.com.

The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

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