Simulations is a group exhibition that interrogates the position of abstraction in contemporary sculpture. The five featured artists are working in new abstract approaches to formal and textural sculpture through investigation of form, appropriation, raw materiality, systemic structures, and allegory. These artists are interested in exploring the theme of post-minimalist abstract technique in the contemporary era, and discovering how it can create relevant trajectories. While replication and object-based appropriation have heavily influenced the direction of three-dimensional art in a positive way, abstraction in some ways has seemed de-emphasized, been called something else, or has merged itself into a craft sentimentality. The interpretation of contemporary abstract sculpture in Simulations, while possibly being categorized in different sub-genres, utilizes the inherent ideas and methods of previous abstract methodologies. This artists in this exhibition intent to demonstrate various motives that drive non-representational sculptors in today’s visual culture.

Simulations showcases previously and newly made work by Robert Aiosa, Gabe Strader-Brown, Suzanne Torres, Elizabeth Thorp, and Christopher Rowley.  The objects in this exhibition derive from subconscious formulation and re-envisioning of outside sources, rather than relying heavily on found objects, simulacra, or modification. Work will be displayed on the gallery floor, on platforms, and mounted to the wall. Sculptures are constructed from wood, metal, plaster, clay, fibers, and concrete. Simulations intersperses the participating artists’ pieces throughout the gallery, creating a conversation among works, and highlighting their similarities and differences.

I have developed a practice that is sensitive to and pulls from my surroundings. As a resident of cities for most of my life, my sculptural art practice has been shaped by the constant changing urban landscape. Neighborhood identities are evolving as buildings become rehabbed and repurposed for new activities and cater to an influx of different class demographics. My work is inspired by this transitional state of limbo filled with uncertainty, excitement, and trepidation.

I fabricate geometric hybrid structures similar to forms found at construction sites and within existing architecture. By abstracting the built environment and mixing vernacular, high style and urban planning, with historical and iconic forms I aspire to showcase the diversity of class that make up our environments. By creating with off the shelf building materials such as Oriented Strand Board, Plywood, Pine 2x4s and in techniques that are common to the construction industry, as a stand in for the common... Read More

Christopher Rowley is a painter who utilizes late 19th century rug making techniques to explore ideas of both seen and unseen logic inherent within systems. By devising and abstracting configurations of mechanical components and piping constructs he finds a vernacular that is both unconventional and oddly familiar at the same time. Additionally, Christopher maintains a strong interest in a vigorous investigation of formalism; as such, color, shape, line, and texture serve as foundational elements of his practice and his body of work as a whole.

Christopher Rowley recently received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his work has appeared throughout the midwest including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2016 Wisconsin Triennial, the Duluth Art Institute’s Arrowhead Biennial, and SooVAC’s Untitled 13 exhibition.

Gabe Strader-Brown, originally from Burlington, Vermont, graduated from Beloit College in 2007 where he studied studio art and anthropology. Between 2007 and 2012, he worked for various art organizations including The Soap Factory and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and RARE Gallery in New York City. In 2008 he co-curated the Soap Factory's volunteer biennial Minimal/Manimal. He has exhibited and participated in exhibitions and events at venues such as The Soap Factory, The Art Shanty Projects and the Duluth Art Center in Minnesota, the Wright Art Museum in Beloit, Wisconsin and MANA Contemporary in Chicago, Illinois and Jersey City, NJ. Strader-Brown received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2015, and continues to exhibit in Madison's art venues. In 2015 he attended Anderson Ranch Art Center's artist residency program in Snow Mass Village, CO, and was awarded International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary... Read More

Elizabeth Thorp lives and works in Madison, WI. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Wisconsin Madison and will graduate in June 2017. Thorp was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and has worked as a woodworking instructor and studio manager at several universities and arts organizations.

Suzanne Torres (b.1982, New Jersey) received her MA, MFA with a concentration in sculpture and ceramics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 and was a Post-Baccalaureate student in sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute. She participated in additional studies at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy and the Metáfora International Workshop in Barcelona, Spain as a yearlong resident. Torres attended the Vermont Studio Center on a full fellowship and participated in the Open Studio Residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Most recently she was a Center Program participant at the Hyde Park Art Center. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.

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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