Art on the Rooftop

Art on the Rooftop is a free exhibit of public sculpture in the William T. Evjue Rooftop Gardens for the enjoyment of our visitors. The exhibit began as an outdoor pilot project in 2014 to help showcase the rooftop as another “must see” Madison destination. It has since become an annual program with artwork changing each year.

The 2020 Sculptures

Gail Simpson and Aristotle Georgiades of Actual Size Artworks, Stoughton, WI– “Turning”

This custom clear fiberglass and steel sculpture is a spiraling circular form designed in response to the architecture of Monona Terrace, and to the qualities of light and shadow present in the space. An additional inspiration is Vladimir Tatlin’s influential sculpture Monument to the Third International, which was a proposal for a transparent building that would house public functions, conferences, and information centers, and although it was never built it remains an idealistic, forward-looking visual statement about public space and urban life.

Steve Feren, Fitchburg, WI—“Timekeeper”

Feren’s concrete and glass work is concerned with the persistence of life and with the miracle of discovery and creation. This all is given voice through the physical and nonphysical phenomenon of the light.  “The eye was made by the light, for the light, so that the inner light may emerge to meet the outer light.” Goethe, Theory of Color.

Michael Burns, MB Metalworks, Madison, WI—“They 1 & They 2”

The They figures are spare, haiku-style glimpses of universal forms. The eye looks to the negative spaces and the mind works to fill in the blanks. They 1 is an ambiguous look at the human form. It is not meant to capture detail or nuance but to somehow capture with a few bold lines something about who we are without regard to gender, politics, or anything specific.  They 2 is another sketch of a vaguely human shape. Benign, abstract, not quite comical but timeless, it is meant to suggest a possible dream figure or paleo type being.

Andrew Arvanetes, DeKalb, IL—“Mobile Home”

Arvanetes says because of his formal approach to fabrication, rational functionality might be expected in his sculptures. “On the contrary, the combination of physical scale, personal references and visual details often results in a whimsical and absurd reality.”  Constructed of painted aluminum, “Mobile Home” suggests motion and uses some of the artist’s favorite visual references arranged in a quirky composition.

David Wells, Curator

David Wells is currently the Director of the Edgewood College Art Gallery exhibition program and college art collections. He’s also Director of Ernest Hüpeden’s Painted Forest, a restored folk art site and study center in northwest Sauk County. An articulate jurist, Wells has been invited to curate a number of WI regional competitions – Beloit & Vicinity Art Exhibition, Arts West Wisconsin, Northeast WI Art Annual, and several university student exhibits. And he served on numerous jury panels, been a frequent lecturer, guest artist/ critic at UW Madison and numerous other universities.

The 2019 Sculptures

Peter Krsko, Wonewoc, WI — “Arbori”

This site-specific composition builds upon his previous studies of relationships between humans and nature. The conflict within this sculpture arises from the combination of the cubic lattice that divides the space into regular pattern and the organic tree-inspired topography of the outer boundary. The lumber material will start as bright yellow pine and with time will slowly change into grey. The sculpture is partially inspired by the architecture at each installation, and was built on site at Monona Terrace.

Luke William Achterberg, Onalaska, WI — “Baculus”

Baculus explores relationships between fine art and the artist’s experiences in subcultures of Americana, namely automotive customization, graffiti, comic books, skate/snowboarding, and street art. Achterberg continually plays with balance, both physical and aesthetic, creating a visual smoothness or sleekness, what he calls “Super Sleek.”

Michael Young, Chicago, IL — “Terning”

Young works with hardy materials like aluminum, bronze, and stainless steel transform transitory moments into timeless sculpture. His abstract style aims for emotional connection – harmony, growth, energy, and unity- while remaining personally meaningful to each viewer. From a sapling bending in the wind to a friendly exchange between old friends, his work reflects the interconnection of environments.

John Himmelfarb, Spring Green, WI — “International Leader”

This work is an evolution of the artist’s 50-year fascination with the way people make marks to communicate words when speaking them is not an option, as in the case of hieroglyphics, pictographics, and petroglyphics. This very rectilinear style reflects Himmelfarb’s experience in Korea some years ago, where he remembers that signage letter forms used a preponderance of right angles and had mass, not just line.

Sam Spiczka, Sauk Rapids, MN — “Standing Knife Edge” and “Helios Emergent”

When Spiczka looks at a natural creation, such as a bone, shell or tree, he is struck by the anomalies and variations found in an object that appears symmetrical at first glance. The sculpture is inspired by this conflict between an ideal state and an imperfect reality, when life aspires to perfection but is forced to adapt into a more irregular and complex form when it encounters an indifferent environment. In it one can find both the chaos of growth and the geometry of perfection.

Tim Jorgensen and Carissa Heinrichs, Madison, WI — “Point of Reference”

Point of Reference is the form of a plumb bob, a weighted tool used to determine if an object or construction is vertical. This is one of three nearly identical sculptures that will be installed in different locations in the Midwest. With intentions of separating them as far apart from each other, they function to triangulate a region as a reference point of individual perceptions. The broken cartography that adorns the surface of the sculpture alludes to the idea of the disjointed interpretations of one another’s perspective.

David Wells, Curator
David Wells serves as Gallery Director at Edgewood College, in charge of the art gallery exhibition program and college collections. He is also Artistic Director of GLEAM: Art in a New Light for Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. Wells has pursued interdisciplinary interests as a curator, arts administrator and practicing artist for over 35 years. David founded Curators Conversations Wisconsin, serves on the Wisconsin Visual Arts Achievement Awards selection panel (Museum of Wisconsin Art) and recently juried the 2016 Northeast Wisconsin Art Annual (Neville Public Museum, Green Bay) and Wisconsin Artwest 2017 (L.E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire).