What to See at MOWA’s Wisconsin Artists Biennial

The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend kicks off the new year with the 2022 Wisconsin Artists Biennial. The exhibit, co-sponsored by Wisconsin Visual Artists, opened February 12 and is on view through April 24.

This year’s exhibit features 52 artists from across Wisconsin, many from Metro Milwaukee. These artists were selected from more than 400 Wisconsin artists who submitted 1,200 entries for the juried exhibit. Each artist created works representing various perspectives.

According to MOWA’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Graeme Reid, this year’s biennale includes a few video pieces, two 12-foot-tall paintings, drawings, sculptures, fiber works, and a bit of everything else.

Barry Carlsen, Time Traveler, lithograph; Photo courtesy of MOWA

“A lot of the work for this year’s show was done during the pandemic,” Reid said. “It is interesting to see several works related to the pandemic. There are people who are reacting to the current situation, and there are people who are not. »

When selecting this year’s 52 artists, three out-of-state jurors reviewed all 1,200 submissions to avoid bias during the selection process.


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The Wisconsin Artists Biennial is a competitive exhibition open to all artists living in Wisconsin over the age of 18. The purpose of this competition is to showcase the creative expression of emerging and established Wisconsin artists.

“It gives any artist in the state a fair and equal chance to have their work featured in a highly-selective, professionally-judged art exhibition, with unparalleled prices,” Reid said.

The first place winner of this year’s biennale will receive $5,000 as well as a solo exhibition at MOWA in 2024. In total, the event offers $10,000 in cash prizes to selected artists.

Larry Zamba, Whitey on the Moon, 2021, color photography; Photo courtesy of MOWA

According to Reid, there is no other art competition in the state that comes close to the incentive financial reward that MOWA offers.

Jurors for the 2022 Biennale include Dan Gunn, artist, writer and adjunct assistant professor at the Art Institute of Chicago, Phyllis McGibbion of Isolde Press, and John Salminen, watercolor artist and arts educator.

The 2020 Biennale winner was Nina Ghanbarzadeh, a visual artist who earned a BFA in Painting, Drawing, and Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2013. Her solo exhibition Bridges will be presented at MOWA during this year’s Biennale. Previous winners are Mark Klassen, SV Medaris, Warrington Colescott and Tom Uttech.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission prices are $15, which will entitle you to unlimited membership and visits for a full year. You can find more information about the Biennale here.






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