Aaron Laux

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Featured artist Aaron Laux standing to the left of his artwork haning on a wall.

Born in 1972, Aaron Laux first understood that his life would be driven by a need to create at the age of five. His individual evolution, growth as a professional artist and commitment to community has largely been shaped by exploring the alternative. After three years of undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he followed his passion and accepted an apprenticeship with artist Steven Spiro. This blossomed into a decade of mentorship and training in wood sculpting technique which grounded Aaron’s technical skills and unique vision.

Throughout the remainder of his twenties and early thirties, Aaron eschewed convention by deciding to go off the grid. Building and living in a yurt, he poured his passion and intellect into personally understanding the experiences of the first humans. Art for him at the time was survival art, learning long lost skills that connect us to the natural world. This included the process of making stone tools, which is a symbolic element in his current contemporary mosaics. Other experiential education including world travel – especially living in South India for a year – contributed to Aaron’s interest in the ways other cultures relate to the natural world. This relationship with our environment is a constant theme that he explores in his work and life. From 2016 to 2018, Aaron was a Fellow in the Clark Hulings Fund Business Accelerator program. This experience helped Aaron bridge the gap between the necessity of creating an income, with the vision and spiritual side of making art. Within Aaron’s diverse portfolio, you will find original art, commissions, community-based projects, public art, as well as functional and architectural works. In the last few years, commissions have included larger scale artworks for numerous institutions in Healthcare. He believes in reaching new audiences while still maintaining his vision, especially audiences who might not otherwise have access. In 2015, Aaron was selected to participate in GLEAM, an exhibition at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. GLEAM celebrates the symbiosis of art and nature with installations of predominantly light sculptures throughout the outdoor gardens, Aaron’s entitled “Luminous Grass.” In 2018, Aaron was invited to exhibit his functional art with the Handmade Craft Invitational at the Dubuque Museum of Art. This exhibition featured a selected group of regional artists whose work is influencing the current functional art movement. Both of these exhibitions exemplify Aaron’s innovative approach and commitment to helping us understand how we connect to the natural world.

Aaron has become increasingly vocal – and with a young daughter increasingly worried – about the impact of human caused Climate Change. He was recently selected to participate in “The Phoenix from the Ashes,“ an exhibit of public art organized by the Madison Arts Commission which explores Climate Change issues, including deforestation.

Aaron’s fearless quest is to help us all understand that we are an integral part of the natural community and wider universe, not separate from or in opposition to it. His message is consistently broadcast through the various techniques and materials that he combines in unexpected ways.


Luminous Flux

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Exhibition:

November 24, 2015 – January 2, 2016

Reception:

Friday, December 4, 2016 | 5-9pm

This striking group exhibition gives art a chance to shine like never before at Marzen! Luminous Flux explores lighted sculpture and conceptual art forms ranging from neon, large scale installation pieces to sculptural glass works. Featuring some of Madison’s most notable artists working in light, this illuminated collection of work brightens the dark days of winter.

Participating artists: Steven Feren,Leslie Iwai, Aaron Laux, Katherine Steichen Rosing, Scott Shapiro


Art Toast with Thomas Ferrella

Art Toast with Thomas Ferrella


An Artist's Journey: Watercolor Paintings by International Artist Madge Macfarlane

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Exhibition:

November 4, 2022 – December 31, 2022

Reception:

Friday, November 4, 2022 | 5-8 PM

We are excited to share with you the works of Madge Macfarlane. Her work consists of brilliant still life’s, landscapes, and figurative studies. Macfarlane’s work has been shown internationally and we’re proud to share this award winning artist as a local talent.


Paintings by Val Saxer

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Exhibition: 2022

Reception:

Valerie has enjoyed many careers and they have all contributed to her passion for art. Growing up with an artistic mother, who constantly said “Look, look, look” she was exposed to art in everyday applications and encouraged to see the obscure all around her. The most ordinary sites and objects are worth taking a second look at.

Valerie took art classes whenever available and was supplied with encouragement, inspiration and materials in the family home. She has had the opportunity to travel the world and soaks in the vibrancy around her and draws on this beauty in her work.

Born in Wisconsin and having lived on the Navajo Reservation, she is inspired by both dry and lush environments, everywhere she looks, she finds inspiration.
Passionate to paint, she has developed expertise in creating her artwork without ever using brushes, choosing her hands, trowels or manipulating the canvas itself, which is always painted on the floor.
Her style has often been called ‘Turneresque,’
and she welcomes the viewer to interpret what
they are “seeing”. Most of her artwork may be hung vertically or horizontally. Acrylics, sand and found elements may be incorporated into her artwork.

Valerie’s talents are recognizable in corporate, commercial and residential applications across
the United States and abroad.


Pop Art!

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Exhibition: July 15, 2022 -October 15, 2022

Reception:

 

A group exhibition featuring dimensional art for your walls.

Featuring work by Laurie Bieze, Bernard Collin, Jane Fasse, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, Linda Leviton, Jodi Reeb, Paula Schuette Kraemer, Andrew Villanueva, Barbara Walton, Graham Yeager, and more!


Thomas Ferrella: The Illusion of Permanence

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Exhibition:

November 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022

Reception:

Friday, May 6, 2022 | 5-9 PM

Watch our recent studio tour with Thomas here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W__P9z039es

Thomas Ferrella is a self-taught Wisconsin artist who explores a variety of artistic mediums, including photography, music, film, painting, large scale installations, and sculpture.

The first piece in The Illusion of Permanence series of sculptures emerged from Lake Michigan almost fully formed. While walking along the shore, Ferrella encountered a piece of burned driftwood, refined by tumbling waves. The sensual flow of the found wood inspired Ferrella to begin burning wood with intention to achieve a similar effect. He found that the resulting forms were stunning when left to the devices of fire and serendipity.

Using the fire-sculpted forms as a base, Ferrella incorporates intricate oil paintings and found objects. Each piece is unique; a closer look may reveal a goose wing, a baseball bat, a candelabra from a Catholic church, or cedar posts from a house fire. While Ferrella states he was motivated by a desire to create something aesthetically pleasing, his works reveal a dichotomy of beauty and destruction in the natural world, or Samsara (the circle of life).

Eight sculptures possess a kinetic element that brings a lively and charming interactive experience.

This selection of sculptures is paired with paintings from the Insex series. The exquisite Insex paintings depict insects mating, a subject Ferrella had yet to see thoroughly investigated in fine art.

Thomas Ferrella would like to give a special thanks to artist and mentor, Enrique Rueda for his time and opinions and sharing his extremely invaluable knowledge of wood.


It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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Exhibition:

July 15, 2021 – Sept 30, 2021

Reception:

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Featuring local artists and artwork that captures the spirit of the Atwood-Schenk neighborhood. This exhibition is in conjunction with an exhibition we curated for our client Prime Urban Properties: Aventine


Windows to the Soul

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Exhibition:

April 2021 – Sept 30, 2021

Reception:

Windows to the Soul is a series of intimate murals created by artists who participated in the downtown Madison “mural eruption” in the spring of 2020. These commissioned pieces invite each artist to offer a personal story or express a more closely-held self-image allowing for vulnerability and transparency. The works painted on salvaged windows in different sizes, shapes and styles. The see-through nature of the windows supports the theme of transparency while also allowing for a sustained connection between outer and inner spaces, physically and metaphorically.

The project was initiated by Threshold and is administered by Arts Wisconsin (a 501C3) as part of the Art at the Threshold project. It is supported by a generous gift from the Human Family Foundation and by Efrat Livny, Threshold founder. For more information on making tax deductible donations to support this project contact efrat@atthreshold.com. Contributions made by July 30, 2021 will be matched up to $5,000.

Participating Artists:
Alana Caire, Amira Caire, Rodrigo Carapia, Tony Catteruccia, Alexandra Gee-Lewis, Keysha Mabra, Cassy Marzette, Danielle Mielke, Carrie Morgan, and Sapphina Roler.

Alana Caire

I grew up in a family of artists. My siblings and I all have artistic skills, musically, visually, physically, and many other facets. Most days as a toddler, I would spend my time drawing, creating or fixing something, and found great joy in doing so. I was nonchalant to the skills I eventually developed over time, because I thought drawing to be fun, not a job. As time passed, I practiced on every piece of paper I could find, hence investing in several sketch pads to fill. I’ve tried watercolor, which isn’t my strength, and acrylic painting, which is. But I find myself more able to focus and produce a great piece when freehand sketching.

My window piece is supposed to represent a black woman in a fairy tail, as the main protagonist. Many Disney films, especially the original ones, have often portrayed white women as princesses, which had and continues to have a negative impact on young children of color. They see these women on screen looking beautiful, and eventually marry a prince in the end. However, I wanted to change the narrative, and create my own version. Here we have me, a young black woman, obviously content with myself, comfortable in my surroundings. I don’t have long, flowing hair, but a more natural afro. I am supposed to be strolling down a path of flowery trees (I decided not to do the background because it would take too much time and I had set a personal time limit). The dress is a royal blue with decorative flowers. I chose blue because it represents me—sophisticated, honest and trustworthy. I chose lilies as the flowers above, because they’re one of my favorites—they represent devotion. Often times, fairytales show a woman in detriment who end up falling in love and depending on the prince to save them. I don’t have a prince, because I am devoted to myself. I personally don’t feel a need for anyone. I am a solitary person, I work best alone, and I’m content being single. If I could give this piece a slogan, it would be “I’m my own Queen in my own fairytale.” I want to motivate black children to see themselves as divine, because they are. I want young girls and women to take care of themselves before they look for love in someone else. Without self-love and self-respect, we cannot truly love others.

Amira Caire

Amira Caire is an emerging digital and traditional painter, illustrator, and designer based in Madison, WI. Her passion for art began at 6 years old when her parents would come home with art supplies to help her stay productive and find her interests. Over the years, she’s honed her skills and turned what used to be a hobby into a career.

Amira’s expressiveness and love for change and freedom inspires her artistic and creative process. She creates whatever comes to her mind, and likes to experiment with many art materials to broaden her skills and experience. Her art consists of various styles, themes, color palettes, and mediums. Although digital art is her go-to, she also loves to create traditional sketches, mixed media, acrylic, and watercolor paintings.

In June 2020, just a few months after she decided to post her art publicly, Amira took a leap and created murals commissioned by the City of Madison which helped jump start her career and her decision to take her talent seriously. Since then, she has completed commissions for local organizations and businesses including Tantra Wellness & Yoga, the Overture Center, Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center, Linville Architects LLC, Threshold, and LunArt Festival. Moving forward, she is determined to grow her portfolio and work to become a full-time freelance artist.

For the project theme “Windows to the Soul”, I wanted to show the connection between me and the meaning of “iridescence”: varying in color when seen from different angles. When I think of that meaning, I think of something that is never specific and changes as it moves through life. There is no better word that I can relate to more when it comes to how I see myself. For this piece I wanted to connect the meaning to the theme of the project and show the woman opening her chest, revealing her iridescent soul.

Alexandra Gee-Lewis

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
~Pablo Picasso

Alexandra found her love for art when she was a kid: it was a safe place where she could be present and express herself in ways that words never seemed to be enough. What began as an escape became the very thing that grounds her still today.

She uses her art to capture the hearts of the viewers through bold designs & messaging: sometimes pairing with poetry. She has been given a voice and God has called her to connect with the human experience through art.

She is grateful to bring what is in her: out! Through this wonderful project.
The simplicity of this piece represents the simplicity of the answer we all want to know.
“Secret sauce”—has become slang for that je ne sais quoi that makes something successful.
So What’s the secret sauce we need to be pouring over racial injustices we’re seeing daily in this world?
Love…..
Is the secret sauce.
It’s not a political problem, it’s a heart problem. Until hearts are changed it ultimately doesn’t matter who’s fired, who’s hired, what’s defunded, what program starts. Until there’s an overflow of LOVE in our hearts: we will see the same history repeating itself.
Love…is searching your heart and facing the evil residing in yourself
Love is being a vocal ally, wrestling with your own emotions and seeking how to combat your own complacency
Before asking your black brothers and sisters what to do.
Because we all have the answer, it’s somewhere residing inside all of us: are we going to squeeze it out?

Cassy Marzette

With over 15 years of visual art experience, Cassandra Marzette (Cassy), is an artist, writer, and creative director. Marzette wrote and directed her first full-length play, Palindromes/If Walls Could Talk (2013), co-directed and produced a one-woman show I Can’t Live Like This Anymore! with Lilada Gee, and wrote, produced, and performed an original ione-woman show, A Conversation with Ashes, to a sold-out audience (2017). She is currently writing her screenplay, The Sea Witch.​ Marzette was commissioned to create a mural combining visual art and poetry on State Street in early June and completed an artist in residence with Threshold August 2020.

As a nearly 30 year old woman, it has taken some time for me to come to terms with the power of my voice and my body as a temple of life. In the past I was self-destructive, physically and mentally, and over time have come to love myself more, breaking from the chains of self-hate toward self-love. This piece represents the move toward renewal and the cycle of self love.

Danielle Mielke

Danielle Mielke is a 19-year old artist currently studying Art Education at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danielle’s enthusiasm for art emerged during her childhood as she filled her sketchbooks with graphite portraits of family and friends. Since then, she has embraced her love of art as her true passion.

Specializing in portraiture, Danielle executes her visions traditionally with acrylic paint, charcoal, and pencil. Being a product of her surroundings, her community and personal experiences are the focal point for her creative inspiration.

Danielle has spent her summer [2020] creating murals commissioned by the City of Madison with fellow artist, Amira Caire, to create positive imagery for the black community in response to Black Lives Matter movement. Shedding light on the wrongful deaths of Black youth such as Tony Robinson, Elijah McClain, and Oluwatoyin Satou, Danielle works to call attention to the injustices faced by members of her community.

The journey towards self-discovery requires self-awareness. In defining oneself, one must dissect the very essence of their being. A theme rampant in the piece, as the artist works to illustrate a story of rebirth. The young woman acts as a symbol of uncertainty as she embarks on her journey of womanhood. Similar to the depiction of the snake, she must too shed all pre-existing layers to fully embody all that she may be. Specifically, her soul.

Rodrigo Carapia

Rodrigo Carapia is a self taught artist who originates from Mexico City.

He first began with street art, which allowed him to experiment his art on bigger scales. When he moved to the United States he began to perfect his art on canvas and paper. Once his brush touches the canvas the work he portrays becomes an epitome of his rich Mexa culture. Now, as an artist and an activist Mr. Carapia uses his work as a form of self expression and resistance through offering art workshops in schools, juvenile correctional centers, which has given the youth a form of expression and a sense of freedom. His work has also been donated to grass root organizations that help the undocumented community- and workers unions. You might spot his art around Wisconsin in murals, restaurants and show cases.

The colors that are always in my heart, memory and soul, are colors I saw as a child in the dresses of the working women around me. They represent so much history. They are the colors of love, sacrifice and pride.

Sapphina Roller

Sapphina is a painter from Madison, Wisconsin. She has experience with painting large scale community murals with Dane Arts Mural Arts, volunteer work with Walls Dogs. She mainly works with acrylic paints, mixed media and collage but is also exploring new media like oil paints, found material, and printmaking to incorporate into her current practice. Sapphina is motivated by her mother who is a mural artist and her late grandfather, Solomon Ireine Wangboje who was a Nigerian born artist and professor. Their work and legacy continually inspires her and her work as a third generation artist. She is interested in exploring painterly collages, themes of religion and sexuality and creating a sense of belonging in the world. She is currently working on pieces based on dreams and the desire to escape, imagining an idealized place of belonging and comfort for herself. She is currently an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design and is majoring in Painting.

For me this piece was a lot about being vulnerable. It’s a self portrait. The hands up have a double meaning. The first being a surrender, but the hands are also pressing against the glass and looking out the window, at the same time letting the viewer in. There’s vulnerability in letting people know you, especially as an artist. I’m a very emotional person and I want the viewer to feel those emotions with me when they look at this piece.

Carrie Morgan

Life in home town, Madison, WI has definitely nurtured my love for the arts and people. I come from a deeply rooted family of 6 generations of multi-cultured and multi-talented, artists, musicians, educators, health care workers, government officials, manufacturers, agriculturalists, tradesman and spiritual practitioners, all who have shown me that art is the product of ones mastery of their passions. I give honor to my ancestors to whom are part of the fabric of my story and life experiences.

I am
Artist
Actor
Dancer
Director
Educator
Event Manager
Environmental specialist
Mother
All Roles family
Currently working on my mobile art studio to travel with.

My work “Peace & Joy” submitted for exhibit, “Windows to the Soul,” is inspired by my belief that the most important factor in change is love. Love for self and love in relationships. My work seeks to invoke manifestation of growth and development of relationships.

My work can be found on Facebook Carrie Morgan Cthyself Design

Tony Catteruccia ​

Anthony (KIDTONY) Catteruccia was priginally born in the Milwaukee area. He now resides in Madison. He is a Tattoo artist/visual artist. His art consists of murals, graffiti styles. He is a father to 3.

The opportunity that was provided from such a tragic event, to me symbolizes rarity and possibility and turning something very negative into something positive. It felt like when the opportunity came about it was surreal and I felt through fate chosen and blessed to have been requested to participate. I felt it was an unlocking of creative potential as well as setting new bars to the sizes of my paintings. It was a moment of truth for myself and around the world. This painting embodies the emotion and drive behind such a rare opportunity to be taken seriously. It portrays an image of a brain storm being released and what can flourish from it. I feel my momentum just beginning in less tragic events. I strive to remember the feelings I had which started it all from there. Nothing is impossible, and if you see a moment, seize it.

Keysha Monique Mabra ​

Keysha is an artist native to Madison, Wisconsin born in 1980. With a life influenced by world travel and residency overseas, a B.A. in Theatre and Drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008); and tragedies and victories of various forms, she is compelled to devote her life to the creation of art geared towards the healing of one’s self-perception and ability to empathize with the life experiences of others. Her art aims to evoke a positive, and spiritually uplifting essence for the sake of creating positive thought patterns and memories.

Like birds in flight, we soar through our lives finding nourishment from the environment upon which we land, we build our nests where we feel a sense of comfort and safety, and we adapt to our surroundings. Though we may migrate from place to place, and carry around remnants of our previous “home” we can choose how to incorporate that new bit into our lives. Will we use it as an educational tool to allow for others to learn about our ‘new bit’?

Like the changing seasons, we are always morphing into different forms of ourselves, becoming more of what we yearn for, or more of what others want for us to be for their benefit. The beauty of second chances is that, if we are so fortunate, we can always learn from our mistakes, and continue moving forward to shed more love and light upon ourselves and upon this ever-changing and ever-mysterious world.

This piece speaks to my battles over the years with my spiritual identity having been raised in the Baptist Christian faith, while being blessed and cursed with a wildly vivid imagination and a tendency towards independence from the standard rules. Always running from meeting my true self, I am finally learning to allow the seasonal changes to shape me while I take the time to trust my senses to teach me how I am meant to grow.


From Here On Out

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Exhibition:

October 25, 2020 – May 2, 2021

Reception:

Sunday, October 25, 2020 & Sunday, May 2, 2021

From Here On Out serves as a platform to celebrate Black Art and Black Lives, continue the discussion of the current movement and explore how artists are using their creative practice to process current events. An additional purpose of the event is to raise money for organizations working for racial equity and social justice reform. Marzen committed to donating 25% (minimum) of our commission from artwork sales to charitable organizations selected by the artists.