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Press Release                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Racine, WI     August 13, 2011


RAM Features the Works of Wood Sculptor Michael Peterson
Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson, Coastal Stack V, 2008

Madrone burl, 46 x 34 x 30 inches 

  Collection of the Artist Photo: Rex Rystedt

This fall, the Racine Art Museum showcases the unique journey of wood sculptor Michael Peterson. Open August 14 through November 13, 2011, Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution traces the evolution over the past twenty years from the artist's early lathe turned bowls to his current, revolutionary sculptures devoid of the lathe. Over 30 sculptures will be on display.

Inspired and heavily influenced by the Northwest coast's atmospheric and geographical features, Peterson has left an indelible mark on his craft through his distinctive interpretation of these temperamental surroundings.  "Evolution | Revolution honors Peterson for his organic abstract forms, including elements reminiscent of birds, stones, driftwood and landscapes - all referring to the natural, physical realm while quietly emanating a deep sense of spirituality," says co-curator Michael Monroe.

He starts out with multiple wet chunks of wood, which are carved and hollowed out using chainsaws. As the pieces dry, they shrink and warp in unpredictable ways that heighten their grain patterns and create rich textures. Peterson then smoothes the edges, and sometimes bleaches the pieces, prior to layering them with multiple subtle coats of pigments, which he often times wipes away to create the illusion of depth. Some of the sculptures are composed of individual hollowed-out units that, when stacked vertically, are reminiscent of how waves would toss driftwood into unpredictable positions on the beach.

Peterson's work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions over the last 20 years, and can be found in public collections throughout North America, including: the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, NC and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Accompanying Evolution|Revolution is a 144-page exhibition catalogue with essays by Robyn Horn, Matthew Kangas and Kevin Wallace. Published by Mobilia Gallery, this softbound catalogue is available from the RAM Museum Store for $45. Copies may be reserved by calling 262.638.8200.

Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum, and co-curated by Michael W. Monroe, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Stefano Catalani, Curator.


Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution is made possible at Racine Art Museum by: Presenting Sponsors - Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, RAM Society, Jay Price Ruffo, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. and Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Helen Bader Foundation, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, Racine Community Foundation, Inc. and Racine United Arts Fund; Silver Sponsors - Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, W.T. Walker Group, Inc. and Wisconsin Arts Board; Bronze Sponsors - Clifton Gunderson LLP, CNH America LLC, In Sink Erator, Knight-Barry Title, Inc and Real Racine.


Together, the two campuses of the Racine Art Museum, RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue, seek to elevate the stature of contemporary crafts to that of fine art by exhibiting significant works in craft media with painting, sculpture and photography, while providing outstanding educational art programming.

Docent led contemporary craft and architectural tours of the museums are available. Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum, are open to the public Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and are closed Mondays, Federal holidays and Easter. RAM is open Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm, while Wustum is closed Sundays. An admission fee of $5 for adults, with reduced fees for students and seniors, applies at RAM. Admission to Wustum is free. Members are always admitted without charge to either campus.

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For more information or to request images, please contact:

Laura Gillespie
RAM Marketing Assistant
262.638.8300 x 114