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University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan

Artists with “Shared Terrain” to exhibit at UW-Sheboygan

Though their work is visually and conceptually distinct from one another’s, artists Robert Tarrell and Steven Burnham have much in common. Both grew up in Platteville, WI, where they met in kindergarten. Both became artists, and both, as artists, have focused on landscapes.

Their similarities and differences will be featured in an exhibit, “Shared Terrain: Paintings by Steven Burnham and Robert Tarrell” now on display until September 23 in the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan Fine Art Gallery. A special closing reception with the artists has been set for Friday, September 23 from 6-8 p.m.

Tarrell, a professor of Art at Edgewood College, documents the rural and natural southern Wisconsin landscape, capturing its beauty and vitality as it slowly gives way to development and changing agricultural practices. His paintings investigate the dramatic interplay of land, water, sky, and especially light – its infinitely variable intensity, direction, color – and the way it plays upon rocky outcrops, woods, fields, and rivers.

Tarrell received his BS in Art from UW-Platteville, his MA in Painting from the University of Iowa, and his MFA in Painting and Drawing from UW-Madison. He has exhibited extensively, including recent solo shows at UW-Sauk County/Baraboo and the Rountree Gallery in Platteville, and in group shows at UW-Platteville and the Kaleidoscope Gallery in Mount Horeb.
His work is in collections of the University of Iowa, UW-Platteville, Edgewood College, and the Kohler Foundation, and in private collections in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, and Europe. Tarrell was named the 2003 Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year.

Burnham, a Milwaukee-based artist, is interested in the landscape as it is mediated by culture. In his work, trees endure natural and human-made calamities, and the infrastructure of the city ruptures, leaking smoke and toxic liquids. Binding together form and narrative, humor and seriousness, his paintings riff on 20th century abstract painting, comics and cartoons.

Burnham holds a BA and MA in English from UW-Madison, a BFA in Painting and Drawing from UW-Milwaukee, and an MFA in Painting from the University of Kansas.

His work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Milwaukee, where he recently participated in a two-person show at Cardinal Stritch University, and in the exhibition “There There” at UW-Milwaukee’s Inova Gallery. Burnham received a Mary Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists in 2004.

The UW-Sheboygan Fine Arts Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most of the paintings will be available for purchase. The exhibit will be on display until September 23.

For more information about the show or UW-Sheboygan's Fine Arts Gallery, contact gallery director Dan Smith at or (920) 459-6649.

Images of the people and places of UW-Sheboygan County