Fellowship Exhibition 2023 Postcard
Pictured from top: Peter F. Aymonin, Lisa Bigalke, Maureen Fritchen, Jojin Van Winkle, Kelly Witte
Photography: Camela Langendorf, Varitay Studios

RAM Artist Fellowship and Emerging Artist Exhibition 2023

August 23 – November 25, 2023
at RAM’s Wustum Museum

Sponsored by a grant from the Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, the RAM Artist Fellowship Program showcases the diversity and vitality of the Racine/Kenosha visual arts. By increasing critical attention and exposure for recipients, the program fosters their continued creative professional development.

As part of the program, an Emerging Artist Award is given to an artist under the age of 40 who is in the early stages of their creative development and demonstrates significant potential. On the application, artists choose whether they want to be considered for this award.

The sixth biennial exhibition at RAM’s Wustum Museum features the work of the following artists:

The five award recipients were chosen based how well their work will present together as a group, as well as individually. Jurors consider the merits of each artist’s work but also look at other variables, not limited to but including county of residence, gender, type of work represented within the group, experience, heritage, and length of career. Each exhibition award cycle deliberately focuses on a group that represents a wide range of artistic accomplishments and types of careers.

RAM Artist Fellowship and Emerging Artist Exhibition 2023

August 23 – November 25, 2023
at RAM’s Wustum Museum
Fellowship Exhibition 2023 Postcard
Pictured from top: Peter F. Aymonin, Lisa Bigalke, Maureen Fritchen, Jojin Van Winkle, Kelly Witte
Photography: Camela Langendorf, Varitay Studios

Sponsored by a grant from the Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, the RAM Artist Fellowship Program showcases the diversity and vitality of the Racine/Kenosha visual arts. By increasing critical attention and exposure for recipients, the program fosters their continued creative professional development.

As part of the program, an Emerging Artist Award is given to an artist under the age of 40 who is in the early stages of their creative development and demonstrates significant potential. On the application, artists choose whether they want to be considered for this award.

The sixth biennial exhibition at RAM’s Wustum Museum features the work of the following artists:

The five award recipients were chosen based how well their work will present together as a group, as well as individually. Jurors consider the merits of each artist’s work but also look at other variables, not limited to but including county of residence, gender, type of work represented within the group, experience, heritage, and length of career. Each exhibition award cycle deliberately focuses on a group that represents a wide range of artistic accomplishments and types of careers.

Peter F. Aymonin
On The Sea, Barnacle, 2022
Glazed Stoneware
12 1/2 x 7 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Frank Heister

Peter F. Aymonin

Artist Statement

I have always worked with a variety of media. In early pieces, I addressed political, personal, and technical themes. A stroke in 2018 changed my life, leaving an imprint on my artwork. Now, with the use of one hand, I create miniature organic ceramic towers that reference coral reefs, flowers, and mountainous landscapes. My work is, ultimately, about process, healing, and hope.

Through an additive process of layering multiple pinches of clay on top of one another, I challenge the concept of “complete.” A single tower is its own form. Yet, I always wonder if it is truly only complete when joined with partner towers. When assembled together, a dreamlike landscape emerges. I imagine creatures—some real and some fictitious—navigating their way through these mountains.

I, too, am navigating the aesthetic and the meaning of these towers. I am determined to make them beautiful, compelling, and complex as I grow in hope through my new life.

Peter F. Aymonin

Peter F. Aymonin
On The Sea, Barnacle, 2022
Glazed Stoneware
12 1/2 x 7 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Frank Heister
Artist Statement

I have always worked with a variety of media. In early pieces, I addressed political, personal, and technical themes. A stroke in 2018 changed my life, leaving an imprint on my artwork. Now, with the use of one hand, I create miniature organic ceramic towers that reference coral reefs, flowers, and mountainous landscapes. My work is, ultimately, about process, healing, and hope.

Through an additive process of layering multiple pinches of clay on top of one another, I challenge the concept of “complete.” A single tower is its own form. Yet, I always wonder if it is truly only complete when joined with partner towers. When assembled together, a dreamlike landscape emerges. I imagine creatures—some real and some fictitious—navigating their way through these mountains.

I, too, am navigating the aesthetic and the meaning of these towers. I am determined to make them beautiful, compelling, and complex as I grow in hope through my new life.

Lisa Bigalke
Observation of the Interior Least Tern, 2023
Reduction relief print and embroidery floss
11 x 10 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Lisa Bigalke

Lisa Bigalke

Artist Statement

When a species dies off, biologists say that the species has become extinct. There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history and each event has wiped out between 75-90% of existing species. Many believe we are in the middle of a sixth mass extinction. Is the Anthropocene period coming to an end?  I don’t know. What I do know is that human activities such as pollution, overfishing, illegal hunting, habitat degradation, and deforestation are changing ecosystems. During my own lifetime, I have been seeing a rise in natural disasters and disease that are leading to the global decline of biodiversity and death.

The Extinct Animal Series focuses on species loss in North America over the last 200 years. I am specifically focusing on extinction by human actions. Each story I tell is with an accurate rendering of the species at the center of the imagery and patterns of its history radiating out. Some of the images are portraits of loss, as the species are extinct. Some of the images are endangered species on the edge of survival. And, some of my works depict the lucky few that are in recovery, highlighting success stories in nature conservation.

It’s overwhelming being at a crossroads between destruction and preservation. Between life and death. The process of making keeps my hands busy while my mind focuses on the evolution of life. It’s fascinating to consider the demise of dinosaurs allowed mammals to thrive.

Lisa Bigalke

Lisa Bigalke
Observation of the Interior Least Tern, 2023
Reduction relief print and embroidery floss
11 x 10 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Lisa Bigalke
Artist Statement

When a species dies off, biologists say that the species has become extinct. There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history and each event has wiped out between 75-90% of existing species. Many believe we are in the middle of a sixth mass extinction. Is the Anthropocene period coming to an end?  I don’t know. What I do know is that human activities such as pollution, overfishing, illegal hunting, habitat degradation, and deforestation are changing ecosystems. During my own lifetime, I have been seeing a rise in natural disasters and disease that are leading to the global decline of biodiversity and death.

The Extinct Animal Series focuses on species loss in North America over the last 200 years. I am specifically focusing on extinction by human actions. Each story I tell is with an accurate rendering of the species at the center of the imagery and patterns of its history radiating out. Some of the images are portraits of loss, as the species are extinct. Some of the images are endangered species on the edge of survival. And, some of my works depict the lucky few that are in recovery, highlighting success stories in nature conservation.

It’s overwhelming being at a crossroads between destruction and preservation. Between life and death. The process of making keeps my hands busy while my mind focuses on the evolution of life. It’s fascinating to consider the demise of dinosaurs allowed mammals to thrive.

Maureen Fritchen
Clutch in Pink, 2022–23
Polyethylene foam, found diabetic needles, and hot glue
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Maureen Fritchen

Maureen Fritchen

Artist Statement

See Foam

The impact of consumerism on our environment is ever present in my art. Exploring industrial waste material as my principal medium has drastically changed my approach. Currently, my focus is on repurposing polyethylene foam, a material used in packaging that is not biodegradable and is a threat to our planet. In contrast, the biomorphic forms created are beautiful and sensuous. They are as alluring as they are disturbing.

Play is vital to my process; it allows me the freedom to fail. Materials that come my way also play an important role because they can dictate form and lead me to surprising outcomes. Both have influenced my current interests and for the first time in my career, I’m exploring 3D forms.

Maureen Fritchen

Maureen Fritchen
Clutch in Pink, 2022–23
Polyethylene foam, found diabetic needles, and hot glue
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Maureen Fritchen
Artist Statement

See Foam

The impact of consumerism on our environment is ever present in my art. Exploring industrial waste material as my principal medium has drastically changed my approach. Currently, my focus is on repurposing polyethylene foam, a material used in packaging that is not biodegradable and is a threat to our planet. In contrast, the biomorphic forms created are beautiful and sensuous. They are as alluring as they are disturbing.

Play is vital to my process; it allows me the freedom to fail. Materials that come my way also play an important role because they can dictate form and lead me to surprising outcomes. Both have influenced my current interests and for the first time in my career, I’m exploring 3D forms.

Jojin Van Winkle
co-rising, 2023
Still, digital HD video and Super 8 film transfer, 16:9
7:00 minute duration
Courtesy of the Artist

Jojin Van Winkle

Artist Statement

My current art is experimental, grounded in the cinematic. I use 16mm and Super8 film cameras, high-definition video cameras, DSLRs, and smartphones to make films, videos, and photographs. In my documenting and editing processes, slow-motion, fast motion, and layered imagery recur.

My lens-based research centers around my evolving practice of listening, emphasizing resilience and the human condition. This focus on listening both with my eyes and my ears stems from and supports my own mediation practice and cultivated dream-life. I document everyday life. I like to find the theatrical within everyday experiences. Light, shadows, and vibrant colors play a role in transforming average existence into iconic moments. It is about consciously being present in the moment, sort of like being at the right place at the right time.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, my moving image practice transformed to include performance in which I am moving the camera with concentrated emphasis or I am in front of the camera as the subject. I also began to incorporate my writing into my films. Text is a now both a narrative and visual component of my new work. Text acts as a silent character, adding a voice in time and space.

Listen more.

Jojin Van Winkle

Jojin Van Winkle
co-rising, 2023
Still, digital HD video and Super 8 film transfer, 16:9
7:00 minute duration
Courtesy of the Artist
Artist Statement

My current art is experimental, grounded in the cinematic. I use 16mm and Super8 film cameras, high-definition video cameras, DSLRs, and smartphones to make films, videos, and photographs. In my documenting and editing processes, slow-motion, fast motion, and layered imagery recur.

My lens-based research centers around my evolving practice of listening, emphasizing resilience and the human condition. This focus on listening both with my eyes and my ears stems from and supports my own mediation practice and cultivated dream-life. I document everyday life. I like to find the theatrical within everyday experiences. Light, shadows, and vibrant colors play a role in transforming average existence into iconic moments. It is about consciously being present in the moment, sort of like being at the right place at the right time.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, my moving image practice transformed to include performance in which I am moving the camera with concentrated emphasis or I am in front of the camera as the subject. I also began to incorporate my writing into my films. Text is a now both a narrative and visual component of my new work. Text acts as a silent character, adding a voice in time and space.

Listen more.

Kelly Witte
Sweet Deceit, 2023
Linocut and watercolor
12 x 12 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Kelly Witte

Kelly Witte (Emerging Artist)

Artist Statement

My series, Decade Daydreaming, is a vivid and excessive celebration of my interest in vintage clothing, hairstyles, décor, and sitcoms. In my work, I use various combinations of linocut and serigraph prints, watercolor, and transparent acrylic inks. Each piece consists of decorative patterns and sweet hues partnered to create kitschy compositions of glamorous women adorned in fashions of bygone eras.

The love I have for vintage items began early. I grew up in a 1963 ranch style home that had all of its original fixtures and décor. I adored wandering down to the basement to rummage through the collection of vinyl records, admiring their album covers. During these years I was enthralled with classic sitcoms such as I Love LucyLeave it to Beaver, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. My repeated exposure to these throwbacks of a by-gone era had me yearning with nostalgia for what I was never able to experience firsthand.

Through my suite of prints, I am able to combine my favored media of printmaking and painting while highlighting my love of vintage attire.

Kelly Witte (Emerging Artist)

Kelly Witte
Sweet Deceit, 2023
Linocut and watercolor
12 x 12 inches
Courtesy of the Artist
Photography: Kelly Witte
Artist Statement

My series, Decade Daydreaming, is a vivid and excessive celebration of my interest in vintage clothing, hairstyles, décor, and sitcoms. In my work, I use various combinations of linocut and serigraph prints, watercolor, and transparent acrylic inks. Each piece consists of decorative patterns and sweet hues partnered to create kitschy compositions of glamorous women adorned in fashions of bygone eras.

The love I have for vintage items began early. I grew up in a 1963 ranch style home that had all of its original fixtures and décor. I adored wandering down to the basement to rummage through the collection of vinyl records, admiring their album covers. During these years I was enthralled with classic sitcoms such as I Love LucyLeave it to Beaver, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. My repeated exposure to these throwbacks of a by-gone era had me yearning with nostalgia for what I was never able to experience firsthand.

Through my suite of prints, I am able to combine my favored media of printmaking and painting while highlighting my love of vintage attire.

Sample of Work in the Exhibition

Click/tap an image for more information

Exhibitions at RAM are made possible by:

Platinum Sponsors

The Estate of Karen Johnson Boyd
David Charak
Judith and David Flegel Fund
Ron and Judith Isaacs
Nicholas and Nancy Kurten
Racine Community Foundation logo
Windgate Foundation

Diamond Sponsors

City of Racine’s Grow Racine Grant
Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation
Ruffo Family Foundation
Ruth Arts Foundation

Gold Sponsors

Anonymous
Tom and Irene Creecy
Richard and Patricia Ehlert
Trio Foundation of St. Louis
W.T. Walker Group, Inc.
Wisconsin Arts Board

Silver Sponsors

Anonymous
Baird
Beta Diagnostic Labs
A.C. Buhler Family
Lucy G. Feller
Ben and Dawn Flegel
Jim Harris
Sharon and Tom Harty
Horizon Retail Construction, Inc.
Lise Iwon
J. Jeffers & Co.
Johnson Financial Group
Dorothy MacVicar
Jan Serr and John Shannon

Bronze Sponsors

Ellen and Joseph Albrecht
Andis Foundation
Susan Boland
Virginia Buhler
Dave’s Wine Garage
Educators Credit Union
Express Employment Professionals
Bill and Debbie Keland
Susan Manalli
Jean and Alex Mandli, Jr.
The Prairie School
Cathy Stanghellin
Twin Disc, Inc.

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