I made this for you: Small gestures in clay

Harvey Opgenorth - Space Volcanoes 2015

Harvey Opgenorth – Space Volcanoes 2015

Dates: November 20 to January 8, 2015
Reception: 6 to 9 p.m. November 20, 2015
Screening: Friday, December 18. Ron Taylor film about sculptor Adolph Rosenblatt, 5 to 8 p.m., free.
Gallery Hours: Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
Related essay: Orphans and Rejects
Review: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

installation, rotter, psgPortrait Society Gallery is pleased to present its first ceramic-based exhibition. Figurative and commemorative ceramics as well as functional vessels will combine into a handmade exhibition featuring small-scale works, perfect for the holiday season.


Colin Matthes

Exhibiting artists include: Rory Burke, Adolph Rosenblatt, Colin Matthes, Harvey Opgenorth, Darlene Rzezotarski Wesenberg, Gary John Gresl, Rudy Rotter, Debbie Kupinsky, Craig Clifford, Gerit Grimm and Meghan Sullivan.

The malleable, amenable intimacy of clay allows for a range of sculptural expressions as artists deal with its textures. Some, like Gerit Grimm, create figurative works with an almost skin-like velvety surface. While others, such as Colin Matthes, retired UWM professor Adolph Rosenblatt and the self-taught Manitowoc artist Rudy Rotter, allow the many marks from the pushing, prodding and pinching of the clay to lend a hand-hewn expressive spontaneity to the work. Both Rotter and Rosenblatt have significant bodies of work in the show. This is the first time an exhibition has focused primarily on Rotter’s ceramics.

adolph rosenblatt, head

Adolph Rosenblatt

What unifies this exhibition is the small scale and primarily figurative aspect of most of the work. Matthes paints simple graphic faces on his hand-built vessel forms. Rosenblatt is well-known for sculpting portraits from life, using the clay like a drawing material. The gestural surface of his work matches the gestural physical quality of each figure. Artist Darlene Rzeztarski Wesenberg creates intimate sculptural scenes and portraits that show people in their environments. New portraits of Mary Nohl, Joseph Pabst and the poets Antler and Jeff Poniewaz will be included.

In addition, Portrait Society has spearheaded a special project where twenty artists were invited to paint portraits of fellow Wisconsin artists (dead or alive) on ceramic plates which were hand thrown by potter Scott Dercks of the Milwaukee Potters Guild. This project was coordinated for the gallery by Rachele Krivichi. All of the plates will be for sale.


B. Mad by Elly Hazard


Didier Leplae by Peter Barrickman


Skully Gustafson by John Kowalczyk


Ron Bittocks by Keith Nelson.


Rafael Salas by James Pederson


Colin Matthes

Orphans, rejects, the flawed, 1

Orphans and rejects, sculpture


Rudy Rotter, family group, 1980s

adolph rosenblatt, cards

Adolph Rosenblatt, card players at beach


Adolph Rosenblatt, Girl reading


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