MANITOWOC, Wis. — The Silver Lake College of the Holy Family art department presents the exhibit, “Unique by Nature – Stump Sculpture” by Michael LaBonte now through Sept. 21 in the Donald P. Taylor Gallery on campus, 2406 S. Alverno Road. A second exhibit, “Face It” by Peter Koury will open Sept. 3 and run through Oct. 12 in the Du Charme Erdmann Gallery, also on campus.
An artist’s reception for both exhibits will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Sept. 7. The receptions and exhibits are free and open to the public.
LaBonte, a sculptor, was born in Milwaukee, but raised in Spalding, Michigan. As the second child of nine children, he was nurtured by conscientious parents on their 40-acre Upper Peninsula farm, was allowed the freedom of inquiry and acquired his own formative education by immersion in the natural world.
Poetry was LaBonte’s first artistic medium. His self-imposed goals have been to teach himself the “how” of his hand tools and to sculpt by relying on his own ingenuity, experimentation and imagination rather than relying on the influence of others. Through disciplined practice, his eyes, hands and tools work together with imagination during the sculpting process.
As a graduate of Northern Michigan University, La Bonte went on to accept a position with the Fond du Lac Public School System and started a thirty-five year career of teaching language, writing and literature.
The results of LaBonte’s exhibit will make an interesting outdoor sculpture garden, where, exposed to the elements, his creations can return to their natural state — home for many organisms, he shares.
Silver Lake College of the Holy Family also will be showing Koury’s work. As an award-winning contemporary painter whose unique style is largely undefined, Koury prefers to work in acrylic and upcycled materials to do what he can to reduce his environmental footprint. His work uses vivid colors and realism to attract the viewer. He combines that realism with abstraction and symbolism to make social commentary on human behavior.
Depression and mental illness goes undiagnosed and suffered by millions of people – it affects their daily lives and ability to function in society. The paintings in Koury’s exhibit, “Face It” are about his personal journey dealing with depression and anxiety. The works aim to break down the stigmas associated with the illness and bring attention to Suicide Awareness Month. After “a series of devastating, life-changing events,” Koury shares that he was able to heal through the usage of color and paint.
“The art reflects times in my life of both ultimate happiness and hopelessness,” he says. “I hope that I can help the viewer understand the struggle of this disease and the feelings it encompasses.”
Koury grew up in Green Bay and was influenced at an early age by his grandmother who also was an artist. In 1992, he moved to Milwaukee to attend Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles where he expanded his artistic skills creating artwork for skateboards, murals and shoes. During his tenure, he was commissioned to paint in the homes of Hollywood’s most famous, including Jay Lenno, Faye Dunnaway, William Shatner, Tony Shaloub, and Rob Zombie.
Since returning to his hometown, Koury has continued to be a prolific artist. His work has been included in many juried art exhibits including The Hardy Gallery, Peninsula School of Art, the Neville Museum, the Artgarage, and many private and charitable events.
Silver lake College of the Holy Family gallery hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
“Bill Beaks Horn” by Michael LaBonte (top, right). Image courtesy of Michael LaBonte
“Just my Imagination” by Peter Koury (above, right). Image courtesy of Peter Koury