Rafael Francisco Salas will display work in Milwaukee exhibit

“Rafael Francisco Salas: For God and Country,” an exhibition of work by the Ripon College associate professor of art, will open with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 21, at Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee. The gallery is located at 207 E. Buffalo St., fifth floor, in the Historic Third Ward district.

Salas also will present a talk at 3 p.m. on Gallery Day, July 20. The exhibit runs through Aug. 3.

About 40 works in various media reflect on the experience of living in rural America and feature subjects such as people, horses and country western musicians.

“In Salas’ work, barren landscapes and mysterious figures play out ambiguous narratives,” the gallery states. “Most of the paintings are set in winter, in dusk or dawn, where an ominous light signals a kind of loneliness. Salas grew up in rural Wisconsin, the son of a Mexican-American migrant farming family. While he was considered Mexican, he did not speak Spanish, and, like many bi-racial individuals, experienced a kind of displacement, thinking of himself as an ‘outlier.’

“Salas’ work explores what it means to be a farmer or live in the country, or be a migrant worker. Country life is not an easy picture to render right now. It is as full of tension as it is draped in daily sunsets. Climate change, market changes, regulations, immense factory farms and rising expenses have challenged the family farming business.”

This is Salas’ second major exhibition at Portrait Society Gallery. He also has exhibited his work at James Watrous Gallery, Madison; Latino Arts, Milwaukee; St. Norbert University, Green Bay; Beloit College; Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Fond du Lac; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan; Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee; Anderson Arts Center, Kenosha; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend; Edgewood College, Madison. He is a frequent guest lecturer and was a regular art writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
(Photo: Test Pattern and Flowers #2)


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