Judith Ann Moriarty

“Strange Vegetation” blooms at Villa Terrace

By - Jun 8th, 2011 04:00 am
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“Strange Vegetation,”Yevgeniya Kaganovich Latex, Plexiglas and air compressor; 2011

Times, they are a changin’ at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. Curator Martha Monroe, who arrived in 2009 and has since orchestrated seven exhibitions, has again met and conquered a challenge.

In this case, that challenge is transforming the staid Zuber Gallery on floor two into a room filled with latex forms given life via computers. Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that anything could actually work with the lush wallpaper jungle in the Zuber?

The installation lives. It breathes and responds to changes in temperature and light. Within the walls of the 1923 mansion at 2220 N. Terrace Avenue, the evolution begins June 8 and ends on July 24.

Okay, now think about a weird-o plant from a cheesy 50’s sci-fi flick, perhaps The Thing. Then consider Strange Vegetation, which indeed recalls those far-out funky flicks from fifty plus years ago. Blame it on two from the wild side: Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Associate Professor of Art and Design at UW-Milwaukee, and her sidekick in brilliant madness, Nathaniel Stern. It sure beats studying the designs on the wallpaper, but the wallpaper is the catalyst and symbiosis is the point. A few years back, Milwaukee Magazine touted Kaganovich as a local who would make a difference in this town. Stern’s CV reads like a fine novel of global proportions. What a match.

East and below floor two, The Renaissance Garden writhes with vegetation, a perfect fit with what’s lurking above. I jumped the gun and visited to preview the installation, but it was in progress. I could see taped markings where various components were set to go. They teased me to return a few days later.

The floral Zuber Gallery wallpaper, inspiration for “Strange Vegetation”

On Thursday, June 16, from 7-8:30 p.m., Jennifer Johung, Assistant Professor of Art History at UW-Milwaukee, will talk about the installation and architectural symbiosis. Echoing through time are the footsteps of architect David Adler, who brought the building to fruition. Monroe says upcoming shows (subject to change), include Escape the Charles Allis! via computer animation and gaming. Thanks to Ms. Monroe, the visionary board and talented artists, the Allis and the Villa are in step with this world.

Strange Vegetation opens June 8 and will remain on view through July 24, 2011. For more information, click here.

Categories: *TCD F3, Visual Art

3 thoughts on ““Strange Vegetation” blooms at Villa Terrace”

  1. Tom Kovacich says:

    would like to see this! Thanks Judith.

  2. Seth says:

    Wonderful article Judith Ann, thank you. Seems I need to visit.

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