Gary John Gresl
Gary was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1943 and currently lives in Brown Deer, a suburb of Milwaukee. He has lived his entire life in Wisconsin, though he has traveled both inside and outside of the United States. He has been an inveterate collector of many things during his lifetime, ranging from coins, rocks, and minerals, Orientalia, comic books, art glass, books, ad infinitum … to the art of other Wisconsin artists, in particular sculpture. He recently received a Mary Nohl Professional Fellowship from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Peck School of the Arts, UW-Milwaukee, as well as a Kohler Foundation artist residency at the Kohler Company, Kohler, Wisconsin, and in 2009 received a Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. He has received numerous awards for his work in exhibitions.
He attended a small teacher’s college in the early ’60s, completing his Bachelor’s in Education with music minor at UW Stevens Point, where he also took art and art history classes. After teaching in the Brillion Public School system for five years (serving as Principal in a small middle school), he went on to complete a Master’s degree from the Related Art Department of the School of Family Resources, UW-Madison. (Formerly called the School of Home Economics and now called the School of Human Ecology.)
He then worked for over 40 years in the antiques and collectibles trade serving as an owner and manager of the Milwaukee Antique Center. Around 1982 he turned attention to his own art production, becoming involved in the organization Wisconsin Painter’s and Sculptors, serving often on its board and as its president for four terms. Soon after following his artist calling Gary became more interested in the history of regional art, as well as finding that his personal interest in real objects, as opposed to 2-D materials, was a dominant factor in his own creative output.
It was in the early 2000s, while President of Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors, Inc. (now known as Wisconsin Visual Artists, Inc.), that Gary conceived of and founded an organization that became known as the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Awards, associated with WVA; the Museum of Wisconsin Art; and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Gary has served as co-chair of the WVALAA and is a member of its nominating committee. He has won the prestigious Mary Nohl Fellowship and was awarded a Kohler Pottery Residency and exhibited in more than 125 shows. He is active as a volunteer for art institutions. He continues to deal in antiques and collectibles, and actively pursues his explorations with assemblage sculpture, including what he calls “outstallations”, ephemeral outdoor works in the realm of earthworks, art povera, and site specific.
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