UW–Madison Sculptor Receives Recognition

by Kathi Matthews-Risley

UW–Madison alumnus Gabe Strader-Brown has been awarded the International Sculpture Center’s prestigious Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for 2015. Strader-Brown graduated from UW–Madison’s Art Department with an MFA in sculpture in spring of 2015.

Photos by Katelyn Veto

Strader-Brown uses a range of methods and materials found in everyday environments in his work, often time focusing on objects that are more functional than attractive.

One piece in his final MFA exhibit this spring was a partially plastered wall with interior strips of woods exposed. The piece was intended to represent what often happens when an architectural technique is uncovered during a home renovation.

“Like other objects in the contemporary environment, when let’s say we’re renovating a house. We uncover a lath. Its value changes. We all of a sudden try to preserve these as much as we can. For good reason, these techniques are our cultural signifiers, are symbols or connections to our past. But like antique objects, they (the techniques) are revered and coveted in a ridiculous way because they were done for such practical and essential purposes but now we’ve elevated them to high-brow objects”.

For example, how we build these old facades, not a literal façade. We build these old techniques in the new architecture, not for their practicality or strength necessarily, but for their charm. Their nostalgic charm.

—Gabe Strader-Brown

Strader-Brown says that one part of his MFA show was about how important it is to pay attention to the old signifiers, but he also wanted to show how we exploit some older, charming techniques.

Strader-Brown will participate in the Grounds for Sculpture’s Fall/Winter exhibition which will be on display from October to March in Hamilton, New Jersey, adjacent to the ISC headquarters. His work will also be featured in the October 2015 issue of the ISC’s Sculpture magazine, and on the organization’s website.

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