[Painting and Drawing Professor] Fred Stonehouse creates art that is darkly comic, enigmatic, nostalgic, and touching. The artist incorporates a mix of influences, including Northern Renaissance painters, Mexican folk art, street and tattoo art, and 20th-century Wisconsin surrealists Tom Uttech and John Wilde.

In “Night Vision,” running through October 13 at Tory Folliard Gallery, Stonehouse invites viewers into his fragmented, bizarre, dream-like worlds. Creatures that are half-human (the human and half-human creatures represent Stonehouse himself) and half-beast are set against black backgrounds; a nocturnal forest houses fantastical creatures.

The artist’s affinity for nature and animals, especially deer, is evident in “Blood Buck,” (graphite and colored pencil on paper) a drawing of the head of a deer with drops of blood dripping down its face, “Night King” (48 inches x 72 inches acrylic on canvas), in which the animal appears much larger than the other creatures in the painting, and “Night Flight” (acrylic on panel with an antique frame, 17 ½ x 15 ½ inches), which portrays a deer head and a large bee.

A number of the exhibit’s works are paintings on wood panel, set in vintage frames that Stonehouse carefully selected from antique shops and flea markets. Acrylic paint is his main medium, although several graphite and colored pencil drawings in plain white frames are displayed. Carefully-applied layers give the artists’ paintings a varnished appearance, reminiscent of Old Masters paintings (Stonehouse is particularly attuned to Renaissance painters).


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