Crossman Gallery Art Event: “Ignition”

A communicative and collaborative exhibition of Eddee Daniel’s fine art photography was developed in the Crossman Gallery at the UW-Whitewater Greenhill Center of the Arts building on Thursday, Feb. 25. The exhibition named “Ignition”, organized by director Dale Kaminski, is admitting up to 20 visiting artists to use the gallery space as a studio to produce their work before display.

Michael Flanagan, curator of the gallery, reports, “We turned the gallery into an interactive studio”. Digital prints, photography, and even 3D prints are made. Flanagan states,“Guest artists come in to spend the day to create art in the gallery. It’s fun to do work that students can see”. The space is set with a scanner and computer for the artist to work on their project. Once the image is finalized, it is submitted to print in the gallery.

Daniel’s current project documents the process of the Kinnickinnic River Parkway at Pulaski Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has been removing the concrete from this poorly used channel since 2012. “This is a long term project that will take several years,” says Daniel while discussing his photography project. “This channel has been abused the most.” The channel extends up to four miles long. “MMSD plans to have it done by 2022,” Daniel added.

While Daniel works on his image in Photoshop, Flanagan does a demonstration on preserving old images. “Taking apart a poorly framed image from the nineteenth century is tricky”, Flanagan lectures to students as he removes the nails from the back of the frame. “Old cardboard can contain highly acidic content,” he describes while carefully removing the image. Printing assistant and student Nikki Maggiori was intrigued by the work being done in the studio. “It’s an amazing opportunity for students to interact with these working artists,” she remarks.

Daniel’s project has been only part of his most accomplished works. He wrote a book titled “Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed”, published in 2008. Daniel describes how his documented photographs express changes in the environment, exploring the intersection of urban life and nature juxtapose. He works primarily in Milwaukee.

Quoting from his book, Daniel clarifies, “this book is a record of exploration and testimony to the discovery of an unfamiliar truth: not only is nature present in the city, but also the city is inseparable from nature”. Daniel elicits that his book shows how “geographical elements have gotten lost. I hope people become more appreciative of the natural world.” The natural versus architectural tension motivates Daniel to show what people don’t realize. “We live in nature, we should pay attention to it.” In addition to Daniel’s natural images, he enjoys experimenting with the distortion effect on images to make them more abstract. “I’m not a purist. I like to play with photography,” he added.

Displayed works from previous artists in the studio during “Ignition” include Professor Bethann Moran, Carissa Heinrich, Hal Rammel, Nathaniel Stern, Steve Burnham, and many others. “Ignition” will continue with new artists until Friday, March 18.

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