This body of work encompasses a number of iterations on a common theme: how a toxic environment affects the individuals who inhabit it. The image shown is a detail from a mural Schlenker painted on the gallery wall at Sabrosa especially for this exhibition.
1. The first series, originally titled PoliticKing and comprised of 26 small watercolor portraits, was completed during a time while I was living in Washington DC, where so much felt in some way connected to a huge political apparatus built upon gaining and guarding status. This first iteration and series addressed the individual. With the figure as central I imagine the effects that a toxically competitive, hierarchical, and individualistic environment might have on the humans that exist in and interact with it and illustrate the insidious and poisoning effects, distorting and disfiguring their hosts leaving grotesque but captivating caricatures. These individuals felt like villains.
2. In the second iteration of this theme, titled hollowed ground and comprised of three large watercolor and graphite portraits, I found myself drawn again to the distorted figure but also expanded the lens to include the structures and environments that propel, elevate, and prop up these infected creatures. These portraits include and address how once meaningful and even sacred foundations can be exploited for personal gain or carbon copied into parody, hollowing them of any real or perceived morality or authority and transforming them into defiled and crumbing ruins. These creatures felt more like victims.
3. While in an art therapy graduate program I returned again to this body of work completing a third series, titled RATET/TREAT which is comprised of five miniature figurative pieces. This series zooms back in but with a different intention. Addressing these figures as both villain and victim, or more accurately as complex natural creatures that both are effected by and effect their environment, I bring a lens of neither scorn or pity but of curiosity. The frame becomes tighter and more intimate and we search for and wonder what has leeched into our bodies and minds and how does that contamination make itself felt, seen, and lived as we track the feedback loop between person and environment.
ABOUT SAMUEL SCHLENKER
Samuel Schlenker is an artist, muralist, and art therapist whose work focuses on various themes related to how individuals and communities react and adapt to unnatural, inhuman environments often using the human figure in distorted, surreal, and symbolic ways. He received bachelor degrees in fine arts and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master degree in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Learn more at www.samuelschlenker.com
Join us on Friday, November 10 from 7 to 9 pm as we welcome this new and provocative exhibition by Samuel Schlenker. The evening will feature remarks by Schlenker, live piano music from Ruben Piirainen, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar.
We are proud to showcase the finest art produced in Milwaukee and beyond. Our past exhibitors include:
We are currently accepting proposals for solo exhibitions at our Bay View location.
There are three large walls (16', 12', and 19') with studs spaced every foot to hang your work. There are outlets available for video pieces. Numerous track lighting fixtures can light your pieces to your desire.
Each artist gets a two-month exhibition in our gallery. Toward the beginning of the exhibition Sabrosa hosts a special artist reception on a Monday evening called Sabrosa After Dark. The event features a meet-and-greet with the artist, a brief keynote address by the artist, live music, a wine tasting, and small plates and cocktails served by Sabrosa's staff.
Proposals for shows in our gallery will include the following requirements:
Sabrosa takes a 15% commission for works sold during exhibition in our gallery. Any pieces sold during the exhibition will remain in the gallery until the conclusion of the exhibition, unless suitable arrangements can be made for substitute pieces. All work is displayed at your risk. While the probability of damage occurring is extremely unlikely, we do recommend that your pieces are insured, listing Sabrosa Cafe & Gallery as a rider on your policy.
Send an email with all of the proposal requirements listed above to Frank Sanchez at info /at/ sabrosa dot cafe with the subject ARTIST PROPOSAL: (Your Name). If you prefer to mail your proposal, our address is 3216 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee WI 53207.