Oshkosh art exhibit features cows and more

Painting "Pedium" by Craig Blietz at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, March 24, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- An art exhibit which celebrates some of Wisconsin's most recognizable subjects is on display in Oshkosh.

Cows, sheep, and goats are taking center stage at the Paine Art Center and Gardens.

The artist created it all from his studio in Northeast Wisconsin.

Inside the main gallery at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh, farm animals appear to come to life.

"There are 11 paintings in the exhibition. It's a new series of work by Craig Blietz and the series is titled 'Close to the Forest,'" said Laura Fiser, Paine Art Center and Gardens Curator of Collections and Exhibitions.

Fiser says Craig Blietz draws inspiration from photographs, drawings, and personal observations of animals found in his native Door County.

"Craig uses these farm animals as kind of storytellers," she said.

One painting is called "Proscenium," which is the part of a theater stage in front of the curtain.

"It shows a cow, kind of contorted and looking off to their side, as if to see something that is approaching. You have the darkness of the forest behind the cow," said Fiser.

Another piece features three sheep. "UnderStory" is the biggest painting of them all.

"You get a sense with the center sheep, that he's very bold and courageous, and perhaps the other two on either side, are a little more hesitant, and cautious," said Fiser.

A painting called "Pedium" may refer to the foot. It features three cows and two wild orchids, called Lady Slippers.

"It kind of alludes to what you might find on the forest floor, and the delicacy of what is underneath our feet when we enter the forest," said Fiser.

Fiser says the paintings' titles and the artwork are mysterious, by design.

"He's telling stories, but they're open-ended stories. He doesn't answer all of the questions for us. We can contribute and kind of come up with our own ideas," she said.

The exhibit will be on display at the Paine until May 28.

Blietz is scheduled to share his insights, and techniques during a visit on May 13.

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