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Folliard Gallery Project Winner is ‘On the Fringe’

Liz De Decker

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) President Robert Rindler has announced that senior painting major Liz De Decker is the first annual Folliard Gallery Project winner.

De Decker was chosen from among 15 senior painting majors in a juried, educational collaboration by MIAD and the Tory Folliard Gallery to foster the works of emerging MIAD artists. Her Folliard Gallery Project Winner is ‘On the Fringe’ paintings will be shown in an exhibition at the gallery entitled “Liz De Decker: On the Fringe” and at MIAD’s 2006 Graduate Exhibition, both starting on Gallery Night, April 21, and running through May 13.

On congratulating De Decker, Tory Folliard said, “We were impressed by Liz’s use of color in her urban abstractions. The quality and strength of her paintings also translated consistently between her pocket-sized paintings and her larger, out-stretched compositions. There was an overall sensibility to the artist’s work that we felt transcended the immediate subject.”

De Decker’s oils on canvas catch an extraordinary light — such as a building’s color reflecting off a puddle — that ruptures the spatial stability of the ground. Rather than having us move simply into her paintings, her space begins to fill outward, expanding into ours. Her works present a distinct spatial complexity, seemingly contradictory, but expanding and contracting as though the paintings themselves could breath. The larger paintings that will be exhibited are colorscapes that developed from De Decker’s intimate perceptual experiences of light, reflection and space during the most ordinary occurrences, such as running an errand. The canvases, ripped, or fringed, and mounted on wood blocks, transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The Tory Folliard Gallery is located at 233 N. Milwaukee St. (414.273.7311) MIAD’s 2006 Graduate Exhibition will be held at 273 E. Erie St. on the River Level and Fourth Floor.

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Liz De Decker: Artist’s Statement

Phenomenon: an extraordinary occurrence. When one has a phenomenal experience he/she undergoes something out of the ordinary. These experiences are not planned, they just happen (like when the clouds glow like fluorescent puffs of cotton candy right before the sun quickly slips beneath the horizon.)

I encountered one such experience about two years ago. However, this event almost certainly does not happen as often as the glowing cotton candy clouds. As it happens, I was in the parking lot of Value Village in Riverwest. It was a dreary gray day. It had just rained, and there were immense puddles atop the uneven blacktop. Immediately as I stepped out of the car, my eyes were drawn to a stunning puddle. One of the walls of the Village was painted lavender. It reflected onto the vast surface to create the most beautiful puddle I have ever seen. The lavender puddle was intensified by its contrast to the monochromatic gray sky and the gloomy light that was cast upon the puddle’s surroundings. As I got closer to the puddle it slowly swirled in an oily metallic rainbow of blues, greens, and violets. At the time, I wished I had a camera, but in retrospect I’m not disappointed that I did not, because that was my little experience, one that will stay with me. This particular phenomenon is one that most likely no Liz De Decker: Artist’s Statement one else has experienced, or if they had come across it, they probably did not even think much of it.

This is what painting can do: create perceptual experiences that would not exist without the painter’s conception and ultimate creation. It is critical to get the viewer beyond the ordinary, to look through the cosmetic mud on the surface, to appreciate the extraordinary within.

My specific personal experiences revolving around light, reflection, and space are contemplated and then translated into my own visual language using layers of color to produce images of precarious spaces. The painting, pulling together different elements, creates something unexpected, evoking thoughts and feelings as the viewer responds.

Riverwest Currents online edition -May, 2006