No piece of art is born fully realized and optimally lit on a gallery wall or in a museum exhibit. Art takes shape in myriad, messy ways in studios — be they dedicated workspaces, living rooms, out in nature or in the minds of artists.
“An artist’s studio is a very vulnerable place, and I respect that. I always feel like I’m entering a very personalized space,” says Amy Gilman, director of the Chazen Museum of Art and curator of the museum’s current exhibit “In the Studio.”
Bringing together more than 100 pieces from the museum’s vast collection, “In the Studio” sheds light on the creative process, how artists see themselves and each other as well as the environments in which artists work. Gilman says the exhibit reflects “the thought, training, anxiety, failures — everything about how difficult and rewarding the process of making art is.”
Since her appointment as museum director in September 2017, Gilman has gradually familiarized herself with the Chazen collection and met with many artists who are University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty members. “One of the privileges I have is to visit artists in their studios and talk to them about their work process and see work that’s still being worked on,” she says.
Gilman’s studio tour resulted in the discovery of art professor Lisa Gralnick’s paintings of the metalsmithing tools she uses in her studio in the Art Lofts Building on North Frances Street. “They are so stunning. I begged her to allow them in our show,” Gilman says. “It’s such a wonderful example of how talking to artists can reap incredible moments of serendipity.”