The work of Wisconsin native and lens-based artist Mark Weller will open the 2023-24 season at Lakeland University’s Bradley Gallery.
An exhibition of Weller’s work entitled “The Infinite Effect of Time on Clouds: Never in Reruns” opens Friday, September 22, with a 4:30 p.m. reception with the artist in the gallery, located in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on the Lakeland campus.
The show will be available through December 1. The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, when Lakeland is in session.
Weller said he threads two themes in his work for this show: the preciousness of water in all its states, and the exquisiteness of time.
“Time is the fourth dimension,” Weller said. “I weave 100 images of the landscape with each camera exposure separated by some measurement of time – a second, perhaps several seconds – and collect data over many minutes. I then compress the exposures which seek to display the world of gaseous water in a more revealing, perhaps honest way.
“My cloud images wrench the viewer outside of familiarity, and gain meaning at the boundary between experience and nonconformity. Water is life and these storm clouds are now all-to-familiar emblems of the Upper Midwest. And while the rain feeds our crops and replenishes our lakes, too much rain changes the dynamic from a welcomed partner to a cataclysmic interloper. Conversely, too little rain squeezes the very essence of life as we know it.”
Weller invites observers of his work to “consider the quandary I explore.
“Why limit our visual universe to what we see only in the moment we see it?” he said. “Are my portraits more authentic and accurate? Do they probe the scientific conclusions of a warming planet? And to what end? How we see things fundamentally influences our perception of our surroundings, our attitudes, our understanding of who we are and how we fit into the cosmos.”
Weller, who was born in Manitowoc, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is a longtime resident of Waunakee, Wis., explores and analyzes time through storytelling. In the past three years, he has been displayed in over 150 art museums and gallery exhibitions throughout the U.S., Toronto and London, garnering many awards.
In his early years, he honed his story telling skills by writing and directing documentaries in Alaska which led to becoming senior producer for news and public affairs at Madison-based PBS Wisconsin for 13 years. Many of Weller’s stories were broadcast nationally on PBS.
He then spent 27 years as president and CEO of a telecom firm that specialized in placing fiber optic cable at schools and libraries in rural Wisconsin, bridging the digital divide.
Now in retirement, Weller pursues his art with passion, and continues to tell stories about issues that need to be highlighted, such as global warming, the preciousness of water, the value of wetlands and prairies.
His aesthetic is rooted in the likes of Wood, O’Keeffe, Cox, and Benton. Each of these Midwest born artists have influenced Weller by their interpretation of nature and the landscape, and the ability to use shapes to convey feeling, mood, and atmosphere. With their influence Weller creates art of the land of this birthright and of the land which he holds precious.