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Essence of Human Experience

The Aylward Gallery’s latest art exhibit captures the life and artistic legacy of prolific Wisconsin painter, ceramicist and UW-Milwaukee art professor Adolph Rosenblatt, who passed away in 2017.

Rosenblatt was best at capturing humanity at specific historical moments in ways that are simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary. In the sculpture “Arafat No Hitter,” he recreated the front page of The New York Times. The top corners are authentically jagged with fringes and there’s a signature crease down the middle. Coverage on a major 1993 political event is set against a Yankee pitcher lunging forward after a throw so far that he has escaped the boundaries of the page.

Rosenblatt was an “observer of humanity,” Aylward Director Lynn Zetzman says, and that was an ongoing feature of his work.

“He went to visit his parents at a retirement home in Florida; he packed clay in his suitcase, and he sculpted the people at the retirement home,” Zetzman says. “He took clay to Brewers games to sculpt people in the stands. This man was extremely passionate.”

The exhibit begins with his early art, abstract expressionist paintings, which Zetzman chose to showcase his roots. Her favorite is a color field painting peppered with subdued reds and blues.

“It’s like taking a bath in color,” Zetzman says.

This transitions into the ceramics Rosenblatt was known best for. Zetzman is particularly excited to show off Rosenblatt’s newspaper sculptures.

“They’re sculpted almost like cloth, but they’re made out of clay,” Zetzman says. “It really captures really specific moments in time. He has one of the Berlin Wall coming down.”

According to Zetzman, gallery viewers will not only experience great paintings and ceramic work, but also Rosenblatt’s life in art.

“I love watching the work develop,” Zetzman says. “People will get to see Rosenblatt’s whole career encapsulated in the exhibition.”

The Adolph Rosenblatt exhibit is free to the public and will be on display in the Aylward Gallery at UW-Fox Valley from April 1 to May 3, and the reception will take place on April 12 from 5 to 7 p.m.

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