Not Forgotten: Wisconsin Roadside Memorials

NOT FORGOTTEN: Wisconsin Roadside Memorials is the debut viewing of Dr. Thomas Ferrella’s 20+ years of photo-documenting roadside memorials throughout the state of Wisconsin. The exhibition opens on Friday, May 5, 2017 with a reception from 5-9pm, and will be on view through Saturday, May 27, 2017.

Dr. Ferrella worked as a specialist in the field of emergency medicine for 30 years. Throughout his medical career, he also maintained an active art practice, working in photography, painting, sculpture and large-scale outdoor installations. He considers this project as a bridge between these two worlds. This series of over 120 photographs documents more than 90 roadside memorials throughout Wisconsin, spanning from Beloit to Madeline Island. He views these sites as free-flowing improvisational art pieces that pay tribute to lost loved ones, and he puts you at the center of these intimate and powerful places. The work explores this relatively new phenomenon in Wisconsin whereby people have empowered themselves at expressing grief in a highly public manifestation. This show also touches on several controversial topics such as gun violence, drunk/drugged driving, road rage, bicycle and pedestrian rights, and creates a forum for a much larger discussion. There are many take-away lessons to be learned that supersede race, age, gender and socio-economic status.

Dr. Ferrella believes that this body of work continues the memorialization process and that the beauty of the images and the website demonstrate this.

In response to this exhibition, the Lake Effects Poets will present the reading Poems of Loss and Remembrance at ALL on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 7pm. The reading will feature poets Marilyn Annucci, Robin Chapman, Susan Elbe, Catharine Jagoe, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Sara Parrell and Alison Townsend. This event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

WI Roadside Memorials

Exploration is the simplest way to assay my work. I speculate in a variety of artistic mediums, conceptualizing a piece or body of work based on visual clues and their subsequent sensory perception. The material often guides the message, and in this way can be seen as a vessel for the purpose the work ultimately serves. Photography has been the foundation though I willfully stray into music, video, painting, large scale installations, sculpting in wood and found objects. Common threads exist though I consider those irrelevant. My aesthetic is a natural abstraction, a graphic documentation, a personal dialogue, an invitation to poetry.

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


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