"Biomorphic Revelations," an exhibit of artwork by Stuart Howland, is on display at Silver Lake College now through Friday, March 25, at the Lake's Edge Gallery, located on campus at the Franciscan Center for Music Education and Performance, 2406 S. Alverno Road.
Howland is a visual arts instructor at IDEAS Academy (grades 9-12) and The Mosaic School (grades 6-8), both charter schools in Sheboygan. He received a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1984 from UW-Superior, and a master's degree in 1989 and art education certification in 1992 from UW-Milwaukee. Both degrees are in painting and drawing.
In his artist's statement, Howland says that his life has been devoted to being a collector of images and sensations. "My process of accumulation is via two agents -- nature and culture," he said. "My early stirrings were to be in and observing nature, as this has always moved me from a very young age during my boyhood in Duluth, Minnesota. It is in nature, I reconnect with the boy who explored woods, fields, ponds, rivers; who always was checking under rocks and boards, waist deep in ponds, climbing trees, etc."
Howland added that he has "a voracious appetite for the works of humanity music, theater, and especially related to the visual arts. In my mind I hold countless images, and it is here where the spirit is made material. Think: Klee, Rembrandt, medieval art, contemporary art, ancient, primitive, on and on.
"It from these twin fonts of nature and culture that I greet my work. For nearly three decades I have developed paintings on wood supports. I begin paintings with little preconceived notion of what I will paint. Instead I begin by applying transparent stains of acrylic paint on to the surface as this pulls out contrast of the wood grain patterns. I value this process as it provides the work with a bioform structure to build upon.
"Through multiple layers of the above process along with accentuating certain happenings images begin to appear to me, which then add to provide the viewer to see what I imagine. I employ what I call the Pareidolia Operating System. Pareidolia is the phenomenon where persons view such occurrences as random clouds, splotches and stains patterns on old water tower or char patterns on pieces of toast and identifying some image such as a cow, Jesus, the Mother Mary. For me it too conjures and mixes and matches the multiplicity of images stored in my mind through a lifetime of collecting."
Before joining the Sheboygan Area School District in August 2004, Howland worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for 14 years and spent seven years working with gifted and talented students. He has also taught drawing at UW-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University.
As a visual arts instructor at Mosaic and IDEAS, Howland says he looks forward to “guiding students in the art of drawing as a means to both build skills into all of the visual arts and to develop and communicate their own ideas.”