All Exhibitions

See Foam by Maureen Fritchen

Apr 19–Jul 7, 2024

The Vitrine

Nature and Ecology -
As art became more and more about concept into the second half of the 20th century, artists like Robert Smithson and Walter DeMaria began to think about the natural world as a canvas for the creation of art. Many artists since have expanded on the contributions of these so-called “Earth Artists” to make work that investigates the collision of nature and culture in ever more complex ways. Issues around ecology, technology, and the future of human civilization have now become fodder for artistic exploration. Saint Kate’s current cycle of exhibitions features artists who use the natural world as a source of inspiration, engaging viewers in an examination of how human culture and the natural world co-exist in interesting and peculiar ways.

The impact of consumerism on our environment is ever-present in Maureen Fritchen’s art. Exploring industrial waste material as her principal medium has drastically changed her approach. Her current focus is on repurposing polyethylene foam, a material used in packaging that is not biodegradable and is a threat to our planet. In contrast, the biomorphic forms created are beautiful and sensuous. They are as alluring as they are disturbing. Play is vital to Fritchen’s process; it allows the freedom to fail. The materials she uses play an important role in shaping her work because they can dictate how forms emerge and lead to surprising outcomes. These alternative post-consumer materials have greatly influenced her current interests, leading her to explore three-dimensional forms for the first time. Maureen Fritchen’s community art activism has spanned the last 25 years, earning her the Volunteer of the Year Award for Art and Culture. She was the founder and co-chair for ArtSite and GetBehind the Arts Studio Tour and chairperson for the 16th St.Studios annual open house. She served on the Racine Arts Council board as the gallery chair and on the UW-Parkside Arts and Humanities Advisory Board. Fritchen currently serves on ArtRoot, an organization building arts infrastructure and community connections.

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