A major figure in Wisconsin art, Fred Stonehouse, nationally recognized for his beautifully executed artwork and witty sense of rebellion, will give an artist lecture at the University of Memphis in Meeman Journalism Auditorium on Thursday, November 19 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Stonehouse received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1982. His style has a sophistication that reflects his diverse, cross-cultural interests, and outsider and folk art influences. Often encompassing religious or surreal contexts, his paintings are a materialization of his nostalgia for the familiar and not so familiar art of the past, blended with his own delicate balance of humor, beauty and derangement. Stonehouse has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions across the country as well as abroad. His exhibitions have been reviewed by publications such as The New York Times, Art in America and Art News, as well as internationally in Die Welt.
Stonehouse’s paintings and prints incorporate haunting portrait heads with antique motifs. His portraits are “transmuted self-portraits.” Often, Stonehouse adds strange characteristics to the faces, an alligator-like snout or a worm-like body. Commenting on Stonehouse’s most recent work, Jessica Baran of the St. Louise Riverfront Times notes: “Borrowing elements of carnival sideshow banner motifs, the iconography of Latino and Northern Renaissance religious iconography, and vestiges of spray-painted street art, this Wisconsin-based artist illustrates a world of self-mythology that is at once wistful and phantasmagoric.” She continues to say that while “whiffs of the flat, crude but essentialist brand of rendering associated with folk artists inform the work, Stonehouse’s paintings and drawings are anything but unstudied or incidentally realized. As a whole they read as a familiar epic long retold with the assurance of maturity, in which the idiosyncratic details merit more patient attention, and the broad strokes of childhood angst are subdued into melancholy lyricism.”