Rafael Francisco Salas – Summer’s End

As fall semester begins, take a moment to reflect on Summer’s End, an exhibition of achingly beautiful work by Rafael Francisco Salas. The exhibition primarily features oil paintings of indistinct rural landscapes and a county fair in “a metaphorical change of season. It is an oblique atmospheric meditation on political and social divides. The landscape emerges as an emotional rather than a literal one. The county fair at summer’s end is a place of reckoning, full of innocence, and innocence lost.” 

From left to right: County Fair #3 (Calf), County Fair #1 (Princess), County Fair #2 (Shovel), 2021. Oil on canvas.

Salas’ paintings feature luminous backgrounds, their inner glow contrasting with a persistent shadow that creeps in at the corners of the canvases. He doesn’t shy away from saturated, earthy colors, but, paired with muted grays, the overall effect is a sense of disillusioned nostalgia.

2021 Landscape, 2021. Oil on canvas.

Summer’s End layers the hopefulness of the ideal, the clarity of recollection, and the crumbling of memory. Sharply rendered figures and sparkling fireworks are placed atop hazy rural landscapes, bleeding into but distant from their surroundings. Focal points dissociate into abstract strokes of jeweled color, and backgrounds fade into the feeling of a landscape, rather than a physical location.

In addition to large oil paintings, Summer’s End includes a collection of process sketches. This body of delicate, thoughtful works contextualize the ideas that culminated in each painting. It’s interesting to see how a change in medium affects the perception of each subject, with small studies in ink, acrylic, and collaged paper a quietly different treatment than the large oil paintings.

Process work.

Salas is a professor of art at Ripon College, where he also serves as chair of the department of Art and Art History, and has also been appointed to the Wisconsin Arts Board. His work has been displayed in New York City, San Diego, and Boston. He’s also shown work extensively in the Midwest, including in the Neville Public Museum, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and the Frank Juarez Gallery. His work is represented by Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee. Salas has also worked as an arts writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Newcity Art Chicago, The Isthmus Magazine and Urban Milwaukee.

Rockets #1 and Rockets #2, 2022. Oil on canvas.

Summer’s End opened on August 29 and can be viewed in the Baer Gallery through September 22. A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 8. The gallery is open to the campus and the community.

County Fair #3 (Calf), 2022. Oil on canvas.

Fall 2022 Exhibitions

Painting of a woman playing a trumpet in front of red and white stripes.
Rafael Francisco Salas, Song, 2022, Oil on canvas

Fall 2022, Bush Art Center Galleries

Rafael Francisco Salas: Summer’s End

Baer Gallery, August 29-Sept. 22, 2022, Reception: Sept. 8, 5-7 p.m.

“Summer’s End” imagines a metaphorical change of season. It is an oblique, atmospheric meditation on political and social divides. The landscape emerges as an emotional place rather than a literal one. The county fair at summer’s end is a place of reckoning, full of innocence, and innocence lost.


April Beiswenger: An Advocate for an Imposter

Godschalx Gallery, August 29-October 20, 2022, Reception: Sept. 8, 5-7 p.m.

A mixed media project by April Beiswenger, Associate Professor of Theatre at St. Norbert College.


Aram Han Sifuentes: Let Us Vote! 

Baer Gallery, October 3 – Oct. 27

Exhibition events: Banner Making: Noon to 2:00 pm, Thursday, October 20 (location tbd) Reception: Bush Art Center, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20

Let Us Vote features the work of Aram Han Sifuentes and highlights participation and disenfranchisement in the political process. This exhibition is curated by Brandon Bauer, Associate Professor of Art.


2022-23 Juried Student Art Exhibition

Baer Gallery, November 7- Dec. 2, 2022, Reception: Thursday, November 10, 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

An annual juried exhibition of work by current St. Norbert College students. 


Senior Art Exhibition: Rachel Stover

Godschalx Gallery, November 7- Dec. 2, 2022, Reception: Thursday, November 10, 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

The Senior Art Exhibition is the capstone experience for all St. Norbert College art majors. 

Blake Williams — Commonplace

Blake William’s Commonplace is anything but ordinary. The show, which was housed in the Baer Gallery at the start of the spring semester, includes ceramic and wire sculptures, as well as furniture sourced from Williams’ family, like her great-mother’s dining room table. These sculptures explore the human condition, how an individual relates to their surroundings, and how identity is formed and reformed.

Gammy’s Runner, Great-Mother’s Table, 2009-2010. Porcelain, wire, and table. In the back, Secret Recipes, 2019. Porcelain, wire, digital decals, and chair.

Through imagery of bones and flowers, Williams studies the ghosts of the past in the everyday, the transience of life, and the search for identity. Her work places a special significance on the contributions of domestic work and honors the memories bound up in objects of ancestors.

Gammy’s Runner, Great-Mother’s Table, as well as Resilience II, with Waiting for Summer in March on the far left.

Blake Williams is an artist and Associate Professor at Michigan State University. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has pieces in national private collections, as well as the Jingdezhen Ceramics Museum. Williams has also been featured in American Craft and Ceramics Monthly magazines.

Nourish 2010. Porcelain, wire, and chair.

This peaceful, contemplative exhibition was on display between January 24 and February 17 in the Baer Gallery. It was a quiet space to consider home and self, and to honor the sacredness of memory.

2022 Senior Art Exhibition

The Senior Art Exhibition is the capstone experience for all art majors. Each art major creates a body of work centered around a theme of their choice and exhibit their work in the Bush Art Center galleries. This year’s exhibition, featuring work from eight seniors, explores a wide range of topics, including the greatest moments in sports history, a fantasy world that feels like home, and the power of water.

Our graduating art majors this year are Francesca Facchini, Cora McMains, Marybeth Koss, Kori Halstead, Ally Laidlaw, Trevor Cornell, Megan Huth, and Rita Hamm. The 2022 Senior Art Exhibition is on display in the Baer and Godschalx Galleries until May 6.

Works of Water. Marybeth Koss
Ophidiophobia—Fear of Snakes. Francesca Facchini
Bare Witness (detail) Ally Laidlaw

Third Coast Prints: A selection of work from Really Big Prints 2021

Be drawn into the Godschalx Gallery to experience a series of large-scale relief prints from last summer’s Really Big Prints! Organized by Berel Lutsky (UW – Manitowoc), Ben Rinehart (Lawrence University), and Katie Ries (St. Norbert College), this biennial event in Manitowoc, Wisconsin allows printmakers to stretch the limits of printmaking and produce work up to 4 by 6 feet in size. By carving into large panels, made out of birch plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF), only the uncarved area can be covered with ink. When paper is pressed to this inked surface, the resulting image is known as a relief print. Prints on this scale are too large to be pressed with a traditional printing press, so a City of Manitowoc steamroller steps up to the task.

A steamroller press in action. Underneath the steamroller is board and a thick foam mat, protecting the paper and the carved, inked block from shifting.

Woodblock prints on this intimidating scale can take hundreds of hours to carve and create, months before any steamrollers are involved. On the day of, each artist’s printing process depends on a whole team of “clean hands” and other assistants. After the event, artists wheat-paste one of their prints in an alley in Manitowoc, Wi on Washington Street, across from the courthouse. Though those prints have come down, each artist also contributes a print to the Really Big Prints Archive, to be shared in future exhibitions.

Wheatpasting Really Big Prints in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The selection of prints from the 2021 event currently on display include work by a St. Norbert art professor, Katie Ries, as well as illustrator Rebecca Jabs, who exhibited in SNC’s Baer Gallery last year. These immersive paper-and ink worlds can initiate reflections on a sense of self and place, the role of stewardship, and the meaning of the natural world. Take an opportunity to surround yourself with these incredible prints before the exhibit closes on March 31!

Althea Murphy-Price ─ From Me to You

The current exhibition in the Baer Gallery, From Me to You, explores topics of self-perception, beauty and the Black female identity through photography and sculpture. Murphy-Price reflects on the problematic weight of expectations as an inherited female legacy, “passed down from me to you.” 

Althea Murphy-Price is an artist and professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville whose work explores the social implication of beauty and its relationship to female identity, women, and culture. Her pieces, which range from screenprint collages to rugs made from human hair, have been shown internationally, including in Spain, China, Japan, Italy and Sweden. She has also been featured in Art Papers Magazine, CAA Reviews, Contemporary Impressions Journal, Art in Print, Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Process, and Printmakers Today. She studied at Spelman College and received a Master of Arts in Printmaking and Painting at Purdue University, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

Much of Murphy-Price’s work grapples with the social perceptions and the sense of personal identity tied to Black women’s hair and hairstyles. Her Goody Girl series of photographs responds to the high expectations of #blackgirlmagic, a hashtag intended to uplift and empower, but can also feel like a pressure to perform. Through a metaphor of barrettes and bows, Murphy-Price explores how trying to live up to fantastical expectations can have real consequences.

Her more recent prints, including Black Bird Girl and Requiem, feature 3D printed objects arranged sculpturally in young children’s hair. The dizzying array of hair accessories used in these photographs also composes her sculpture Counter. Some of these accessories, like bows and flowers, are innocent and childlike, but others, like satellites, bullets, and birdcages, have connotations associated with heavier subjects. All have implied expectations, and carrying their weight can be difficult.

Counter (detail) 2021. 3D printed polymer.

From Me to You opened in two stages, on Feb. 28 and March 3, and can be visited through March 31.

Spring 2021 Senior Art Exhibition Artist Talks: Audrey Shreiner, Sophia King, and Grace Beno, Will Donohue, Rebecca Jacques, Olivia Platz, Annicka Rabida, and Neale Tracy

The Senior Art Exhibition is the capstone experience for all art majors. Art Majors produce a body of work around a theme of their choice and exhibit it in the Bush Art Center Galleries. The Spring 2021 Senior Art Exhibition is on display in the Baer and Godschalx Galleries of the Bush Art Center, St. Norbert College through May 5.  In these videos students reflect on their concepts, process, and techniques.

Rebecca Jabs – Illustrating Nature

Rebecca Jabs is an artist and freelance scientific illustrator based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She began her professional career as a K-12 Art Teacher in Manitowoc before graduating in 2016 from the Science Illustration Graduate Program at California State University at Monterey Bay. She has had her work displayed in a variety of exhibitions including Illustrating Nature, her most recent solo exhibition. Illustrating Nature, on display in the Baer Gallery at St. Norbert College through March 12, 2021, features a collection of watercolor, gouache, and ink pieces which illustrate some of the flora and fauna of Wisconsin. Jabs explained that her journey as a naturalist was a recent one and stated that, “When we grow up in a place, we become so accustomed to it that we aren’t as amazed by it as we probably should be,” when speaking about her love of wildlife and nature in Wisconsin. Her favorite birds native to Wisconsin are the Caspian Tern and the American White Pelican; which she illustrated in her gouache and watercolor painting, American White Pelican, 2017. Many of her paintings in the exhibition in the Baer Gallery illustrate flower species in Wisconsin as well. Although Jabs was never really interested in illustrating botany originally, she has found a love for the shapes and how she could piece the plants together in a composition commenting on how she is, “very drawn to geometry and pattern in my artwork.” In fact, Monarda punctata is one of her favorite flowers and she used this plant to study flowers when she painted Monarda Puctata & Bombus spp., 2020. The project that Jabs is working on currently is a collaboration with Wisconsin naturalist, John Bates. He is working on a book about the last undeveloped lakes of Wisconsin, and Jabs is illustrating plant and animal species found in those habitats; some of which are included in her Illustrating Nature exhibition such as four watercolor paintings of turtle species. Jabs’ work for Illustrating Nature beautifully illustrates Wisconsin wildlife in a variety of ways; from scientific illustrations for research to personal projects which celebrate the amazing plants and animals found in the state.