Gary John Gresl
medium: mixed media
wisconsin academy gallery artist, 2002
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Artist resides in: Brown Deer, WI
Email Address: SAGANGUY@aol.com
What is acceptable as we define art? In retrospect, it does seem remarkable.
In 1950, as the abstract expressionists were emerging in public consciousness, there would have still been little argument or controversy over questions such as: Where does art begin and craft end? What distinguishes fine art from less fine art? Furthermore, does "acculturation" only apply to Western influence on other cultures, or does it apply to other cultures upon us? Rules? Talk to Picasso, Kandinsky and Duchamp about rules.
Are there any distinct edges to what once were considered separate disciplines, such as sociology, art history, folk culture, primitive art, natural history, technology and mathematics? Can any human pursuit rise to the level of an art form, and do we recognize that areas of human activity and interest indeed blend together, erasing barriers and arbitrary distinctions? Where do terms and activities rigidly interface or smoothly integrate?
Studying the history of art over the centuries, particularly since the late 19th century, one might be led to the belief that rules and conventions hold back progress in art expression. The individual artist is at the center of art making, and it is the artist who stretches the boundaries of what art can be. I question whether or not there are rules at all, or merely success derived from convincing arguments, publicity and good luck.
Most importantly, we can individually define art, determine what it can embrace, set boundaries of our own, and give it some important meaning in our personal lives. We are supposed to have the freedom to express political observation and belief as well as explore our individuality. The important language for expression for some of us is visual media, with few or no restrictions on what is said or how it is stated.
This freedom of expression is what draws many of us to the use of art in our lives. You and I can delight in new personal discoveries, in eliminating boundaries and combining meanings. Artistic expression gives us the opportunity and means to expand our minds, find satisfaction, release emotions, ground ourselves and maybe take a few others with us. We can question and then break rules.
Born 1943 in Manitowoc, Wis. Attended Catholic grade school, public high school and Manitowoc County Teachers College. Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Additional art and art history classes through the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Silver Lake College, Manitowoc. University of Wisconsin-Madison, MS, Family Resources and Consumer Sciences (now called School of Human Ecology). Art history and museum training and connoisseurship classes at UW-Madison.
Working on the board of Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors/Wisconsin Visual Artists for over 20 years, contributor to its newsletter, "Art in Wisconsin." Co-founder of Milwaukee Visual Arts Roundtable (MVAR) in 2000. Nominated for 2001 Governor's Award in Support of the Arts, recipient of Mary Nohl Professional Artist Fellowship 2008, recipient of Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award 2009, volunteer activist for Museum of Wisconsin Art.