4647 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
6:30pm - 9pm (preview 2pm - 4pm)
Event Contains: paintings, etchings and sculptures
An inherent curiosity in my surroundings and the history they held has always been a driving force for learning and inspiration. Specifically, Milwaukee and its people have been a strong influence on my work. A seat on the city bus or a stroll through the rail yard was the vantage point and the filter through which I built my perception of my hometown. My loved ones were steel workers and bus drivers and sanitation workers and paramedics and machinists and mailmen and truck drivers. In my mind’s eye, I recall their blue collar work ethic against a stark Rust Belt backdrop. I remember walking down to the rail yard in the Menomonee Valley with my dad to look at the trains for inspiration for the models we would build. I loved the rust, the chipped and peeling paint, and the warm, earthy colors. Naturally, my favorite thing about our model trains was making them look weathered and worn, like they held a story. One recent body of work drew inspiration from the palette of those childhood memories to help pay homage to more recent travels and interactions. After taking close-up photographs of rusting and peeling paint during trips to New Mexico, Alabama, and the far corners of Texas, I created a series of etchings and oil paintings that serve as mile markers – placeholders – honoring people and places that shaped me and were important parts of my education. I feel that those abstract, weathered surfaces are beautiful just standing on their own, but they are beginning to take by serving as a symbol and an overlay for the vanishing histories of places I fondly remember.
How did the Cudahy Historical Society come to own the Depot? That's a story in itself. In 1971, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had abandoned the building and moved into a compact brick office next door. The depot was so neglected and in need of repairs that the City of Cudahy condemned it and demanded that the railroad either raze it or repair it. A group of citizens said, "No way! The Depot should be preserved." They battled the city and the railroad and formed the Cudahy Historical Society to give strength to their efforts When they discovered that the family of city founder Patrick Cudahy owned the land on which the depot stood, they had a bargaining tool. With the Cudahy family's co-operation they acquired the depot in 1978.