A pair of Sauk County artists, Roberta Condon and Lorraine Ortner-Blake, whose works each express their interpretation of decades of changing landscapes and changing relationships between farmers and their fields, will be featured in the Schwalbach Gallery on the UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County campus, starting Friday, July 1. The campus exhibit, a subset of “Long Time Passing,” a 52-piece installation the pair are showing across the upper Midwest through 2023, will highlight multiple pieces by each artist. The full exhibit will be installed at River Arts Center in nearby Prairie du Sac starting in late August.
According to the artists’ descriptions, the works from Condon’s series “American Pastoral” present vast rural views that echo the change in landscape as it shifts from family farm to industrial agri-business, and Ortner-Blake’s richly detailed paintings in “Mom’s Reminiscences” view midwestern family farm life from the 1930s through the 1970s through the eyes of her mother. Together, their works offer a focus on the struggles, joys and challenges of Midwest farm life.
Condon’s modern abstract works give her perspective on the changing landscapes and physical structures of Wisconsin’s fields and farms, incorporating both her view as an artist and an advocate for small family farms and the challenging political and economic climate they face. Images of these paintings, along with information and reflections on modern agriculture and farming, are included in her book “Agriculture All Around – Agriculture Run Aground.”
Ortner-Blake’s paintings present a view of life on the family farm through her mother’s reminiscences and the memories of her own childhood among 13 siblings. “My Mom is in her nineties now. The adventures of her young days are her strongest memories,” says Ortner-Blake, and this series of paintings reflects the stories she has long shared with the family.
The preview show will be on campus through the month of July. The Schwalbach Gallery on the UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County campus is open weekdays during regular campus hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m.