Gallery 224 presents,
Stop down by our windows in the month of May to see the artwork of ARTservancy Artist Resident, Kelly Alexander
This exhibition features artwork inspired by
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve
supported by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.
Kelly Alexander is a papercutting artist with a background in printmaking who lives and works in Wisconsin.
Alexander received a BFA in Printmaking from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
During her time at MIAD she explored papercutting and printmaking together. She uses an Xacto knife to create artwork made up of intricately cut and layered colored papers portraying nature and the human figure.
Alexander is interested in the connection and relationship the body has with nature. She is fascinated by how the body changes internally and externally to adapt to the environment.
Through the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s continuing education program she has taught screen printing, papercutting, figure drawing, and portfolio development classes. She currently works in the MIAD Admissions Office as Office Manager & Events Coordinator. Previously, she was an Admissions Counselor for many years, educating high school students about art school and guiding them through the college application process.
Last summer she curated a group exhibit titled The Embodiment of Cycles with two other female artists. The exhibit was about each of the female’s experience with cycles of the body. Since then, Alexander has expanded on developing papercut pieces relating to the female body, health, and nature. This summer her papercutting work will be displayed at the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau, WI in a solo exhibit entitled The Body Nourished by Nature.
One of my favorite things to do is walk in nature; it is also the first step in my studio practice. I’m a papercutting artist and my work is about wildlife, environments, and the cycle of life.
I am very excited to be making work about Forest Beach Migratory Preserve because of the prairies and farm land in which its framed. It reminds me of home. I grew up in a rural part of Illinois and have always found beauty in the changes of seasons, plants, and animals. The roots that inspire my passion for nature come from my parents who would take me hiking, fishing, and camping. From these outdoor experiences I learned to explore what is around us and how connected we can be with nature.
The first time I visited Forest Beach, I noticed that it was very peaceful. It was at the end of summer when all the monarch butterflies where around. You could smell the sweetness of wildflowers in the air and feel summer turning into autumn.
Most of my walks through the preserve have been accompanied by my dog Dotty. During the time we spent there together we discovered muskrats swimming, a variety of birds, plants, and the changes in weather. She especially likes the observation towers where we can see large areas of land and water.
In the winter months we would explore the icy ponds, fallen trees, and exposed branches. As spring approached I was informed about nesting season for birds. Since the 1970s, there has been a decline in the ground nesting species and they often nest close to the edge of trails. To help these birds as much as possible, the preserve has a no dog policy from April 1st through September 1st. This has given Dotty and me a chance to check out some of the other Ozaukee Washington Land Trust preserves, which allow on-leash dogs.
Forest Beach is an inspiring place and I admire its transformation. What once was a golf course with clean cut grass is now a sanctuary for wildlife. I’m so thankful for places like this that keep us connected to nature.