For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Creative Power: VSA Wisconsin’s Traveling Exhibition is on view at the McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids through Nov. 30.
The exhibition features 30 award-winning works of art by children and adults with disabilities from Wisconsin. The show is comprised of work in a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, prints, and mixed media. The artists hail from cities and towns throughout Wisconsin.
An artist talk featuring award winning VSA artist Dan Sullivan, will be held on Oct. 26 at 6:30 pm. A reception and performance by the VSA Choir of Wisconsin Rapids will follow Sullivan’s presentation. The concert is in celebration of the VSA Choir of Wisconsin Rapid’s 20 year anniversary. The concert will feature a fun medley of commercial jingles as well as the choir’s favorites from throughout the years.
Sullivan, who is legally blind, is an advocate of folk art with its emphasis on shapes, contrasts, and colors which quite literally reflect the way he sees life. He focuses on transforming items as ordinary as old fence posts into not-so-ordinary artistic duck decoys. Shying away from power tools, all work is done with just a handsaw, rasp and hammer.
“Being cracked, splintered and rough-edged does not make a weathered fence post useless. These things only add to its character. With some persistent crafting and a touch of imagination, even an old piece of wood can be transformed,” said Sullivan. “Perhaps this is how those of us with disabilities need to be perceived. Once given the opportunity to adapt, we each have the potential to evolve into a work of art.”
Among the works featured in the exhibition is “Hope” by Pita Daniels and “Pink Pegasus” by Julius Trees Parrish. Pita’s acrylic on canvas is a breathtaking contrast of light and dark.
“I try to express my emotional and spiritual inner world with abstract expressionism, while letting the many landscapes I have lived in influence the image,” said Daniels. “I love using vivid color, simple shapes and strong lines to make my personal statements about life and the world we live in.”
Daniels has been influenced by Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Zao Wu-Ki and Georgia O’Keefe and often paints to music.
Parrish lives with autism and has been painting with acrylics for about six years. He likes working with acrylics because of the vibrancy of the colors and the ability to create texture in his paintings. His award winning work “Pink Pegasus” portrays a stylized silver-grey Pegasus with brown eyes and hooves. The background gradually moves from a dark rich red at the bottom to a deeply hued pink at the top.
McMillan Library is located at 490 E. Grand Ave.