Wisconsin Academy: Side-by-side solo exhibitions open January 14 at James Watrous Gallery

Contact: Jason A. Smith, communications director, or Jody Clowes, exhibitions manager / 608-265-2500

Pamela Callahan: How a Bird is Watched by Water


Rhea Vedro: Ogum

MADISON– Solo exhibitions by Pamela Callahan (Highland) and Rhea Vedro (Madison) will be on view beginning January 14, 2014, at the Wisconsin Academy’s James Watrous Gallery, located on the 3rd floor of Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. Details are as follows:

Exhibition dates: January 14 – March 2, 2014
Opening reception (free and open to the public): Friday, January 17, 5:30–7:30 pm, with artists’ talks at 6:30 pm. Both artists will be in attendance and will speak about their work.


Pamela Callahan: How a Bird is Watched by Water
Inspired by the hills around her studio in southwest Wisconsin, Pamela Callahan incorporates their curves, shadows, shapes, and creatures in her recent paintings. She is not a representational artist: Callahan’s aim is to explore the convergence of the inner and outer landscape. She describes her process this way: “I let emotion guide my markings, partly out of respect for the subconscious, its intricacies and wonders, but also because I know no other way. There is a world inside of us and there is a world around us. I introduce them to each other in my paintings.”

How a Bird is Watched by Water includes paintings in several media on wood, paper and stretched linen. Many of these works emerged from Callahan’s practice of cleaning her paintbrushes directly on new or newly begun works at the end of the day. Seen with fresh eyes the following morning, these casual marks offer a portal into unplanned territory from which (as she puts it) animal and landscape forms continually emerge.

Born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Callahan received a B.A. in Studio Art from Lawrence University. For fifteen years she lived and worked in Chicago, where she exhibited widely and was involved with Woman Made Gallery as a volunteer, gallery director, and advisor. In 2004, Pamela returned to Wisconsin and co-created Otter Creek Arts, a rural art studio in Highland amidst the hills and valleys of the Driftless Area.

Rhea Vedro: Ogum
Rhea Vedro is fascinated by the trajectory and broad sweep of humankind’s relationship with metal, from mining and refining raw ore to fabricating objects of beauty, war, value, infrastructure, ceremony and industry. Her current work in steel evokes the vulnerability of armored bodies, and the Ogum series in particular is informed by ideas of protection and migration, from the movements of animals, people, and goods to the travels of the soul. This series began with Vedro’s observation of schools of fish and flocks of birds, but her subsequent research into migration broadened into an investigation of ancient ships, saddles, and funerary goods. While never directly referenced, the echoes of these historic vessels and objects can nevertheless be sensed in Vedro’s forms.

Ogum is the Brazilian spelling for Ogun, the Yoruba deity (orisha) who is revered as the patron of metalsmiths.

A metalsmith and educator, Vedro enjoys an active studio practice in both steel sculpture and jewelry. She holds an MFA in Metals from the State University of New York at New Paltz and has taught in the art departments at SUNY-New Paltz and UW-Madison. Born and raised in Madison, Vedro has traveled extensively and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. In addition to her work as an artist, she serves as a family liaison with Madison Metropolitan School District’s Office of Multilingual Global Education.

FOR MEDIA ONLY: Download images from the exhibition at flickr.com.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Dane Arts and the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. The James Watrous Gallery also receives ongoing support from Doubletree Hotel-Madison and the members of the nonprofit Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

About the James Watrous Gallery
The James Watrous Gallery is dedicated to Wisconsin visual art and artists. A program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, the Watrous Gallery’s mission is to promote the visual arts in Wisconsin through quality exhibitions and educational programs. For gallery hours and more information on exhibiting artists, please visit wisconsinacademy.org/gallery or call 608-265-2500.