Artist & Gallery News

Sandra Peterson Receives 2017 Gottlieb Foundation Grant

We’re delighted to share the news that Sandra Peterson has been selected to receive an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant for 2017. This award is given to 12 artists each year in recognition of the quality of each artist’s work and the artist’s dedication to their work over a period of many years.

The artists for this year’s awards were selected from nearly 400 applicants. Art was chosen for the award by a panel of five advisors, each of whom is either a working artist or a professional curator or critic.

“dog with botanyII” 48”x40” oil on canvas

Wantoot is celebrating Sandra’s grant by hosting a show of some of her most recent work. The show opens on June 3, during Galley Night. Meet Sandra between 5:00 - 8:00pm during the opening reception at Wantoot Gallery.

The Gottlieb Foundation is named after Adolph Gottlieb, who began his career as an artist in New York in the 1920s. He became one of the small group of artists who initiated the movement known as Abstract Expressionism, and achieved artistic and financial success far beyond his early expectations.

“mighty tree” 20”x16” oil on canvas

The foundation has been operating since 1976 with two main purposes. They offer grants to individual visual artists through two programs: an annual Individual Support Grant and a separate program to assist visual artists in cases of catastrophic events through an Emergency Grant program. They also maintain an archive on the art and life of Adolph Gottlieb and organize exhibitions of his art and that of others.

Over the course of his life Gottlieb had several friends and colleagues who, despite their artistic achievements, were not able to support themselves either through the sale of their art or through teaching or related work. Adolph and his wife Esther were known among their friends as people who would help out when times were hard or when someone was in serious need.

You can learn more about the Gottlieb Fountain and about the art of Adolph Gottlieb at


Cindy Taylor: New Earth/Alternate Versions

While Cindy Taylor has worked in a variety of mediums over her career, she finds oil is ideal for her current work. She has always been drawn to the organic, natural forms found in nature, and she studies plant and flower forms and how they change with the seasons.

Her paintings begin with a rough idea and frequently change during the process. Organic subjects ultimately move in a motion of “growing up.”

The title of this show, “New Earth,” was the title of her first painting that evolved through the synergism of Cindy’s imagination, and forms found in nature. The subsequent artworks are different versions of the original concept.

Cindy says it best: ”These are oil paintings of abstract landscapes, containing colorful organic forms, growing wildly in a vast array of strange configurations."

“New Earth/Alternate Versions” consists of 20 works of oil on canvas in various sizes, with frames by the artist. It opens Saturday, April 1, during Mineral Point's Gallery Night. Meet Cindy at the opening reception from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. The show runs through Thursday, April 27 at Wantoot Gallery in Mineral Point.

"Oh, Joyous Spring," 20" x 30"

"Oh, Joyous Spring" 20" x 30"


"Garden In the Deep" 24" x 24"

"Garden In the Deep" 24" x 24"


"Composition With White" 16" x 20"

"Composition With White" 16" x 20" 


"Lodestars And Polestars" 14" x 14"

"Lodestars And Polestars" 14" x 14"


FIELDS: New work by Michael Costanza

Illinois artist Michael Costanza returns to Wantoot Gallery on Saturday, December 3, 5:00pm - 8:00pm, for the opening of FIELDS: An Exploration Into The Immediate and Automatic Act of Mark-making. Wantoot patrons know Michael for his complex college compositions that weave multiple story lines. Michael was on hand for Wantoot’s gallery grand opening in 2012, and returned a few years later to create and host a 5 piece presentation for SLOW ART DAY.

"Dirt Cloud"-- An example of Michael's earlier collage.

 Michael’s show FIELDS is his first exploration into the immediate and automatic act of mark-making, treating each picture plane as a field on which to make the mark. Just as games are played on fields, this body of work consists of a variety of art games where a rule or set of rules were created and followed to execute the work. Occasionally, rules may have been broken to make the piece work.




As the body of work continued to grow, themes and representation began to transpire from the automatic marks. Certain marks began taking on representational meaning: the sights and sounds of water, waves, streams, land, grass, dirt, mountains and natures’s textures became the most prevalently used. With these thematic attachments transpiring, the images then developed a distant relationship with ancient, writing systems such as hieroglyphs and aa variety of other pictographic scripts.



FIELDS  features over 17 artworks ranging in size from 5" x 5" to 24" x 36". 


“Telling it to the Moon” author Stephanie Tait at Wantoot, August 6



L. Stephanie Tait completed a Bachelors of Arts in Film Studies from UW-Madison. She earned a Masters of Arts from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, and spent four and a half years pursuing a PhD with the University of Edinburgh's Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department. She also spent her time in Scotland curating and organizing independent film festivals and screenings with the Film House Theatre in Edinburgh. In between her M.A. and PhD, Stephanie was the Marketing Director for the world-renowned University Research Park in Madison. Stephanie is the daughter of Steven Tait and Susan Whitworth-Tait, residents of Wantoot's home, Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Putting her PhD on hold, Stephanie moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to continue her work in producing, writing, and directing. When not creating fantastical realities on stage and screen, she runs her new independent publishing firm, Verthandi Press, which specializes in Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Faerie Tale books written by female authors.

Verthandi Press’ mission is to be a company that serves to be the change that Stephanie has worked to see in the world: a publishing company that focuses on narratives about, and driven by, women.

Verthandi’s first project,"Telling it to the Moon", is a book of 15 original faerie tales by Stephanie. She recounts, “none of the stories are based on anything other than the crazy dreams and ideas that frequent my brain. These are characters with whom I have spent years writing, developing, and living. I'm excited to finally share them with the world and hopefully have people love them as much as I do.”

The book features 15 illustrations (one for each of the stories) by illustrator Brian Carroll. As Stephanie’s close collaborator (and husband), Brian created illustrations that beautifully capture essential storylines of all 15 faerie tales.

Stephanie will be at Wantoot on August 6, from noon - 2:00 pm and again from 4:00 - 6:00 pm, to sign copies of the brand-new 350 page hardcover book. Wantoot will exhibit book illustrations by Brian Carroll, that will also be available for purchase.

Brian and Ralph

In an effort to showcase the talent and skills of one of our artists, we asked Mineral Point artist Brian Stuart if he would start a painting in our gallery, during the recent Fall Art Tour in mid- October. Brian thought the idea was wonderful. With the exception of an occasional trip outdoors to paint en plein air, Brian normally paints indoors in his studio, and usually in solitude. And although he frequently paints still lifes, he might be most passionate about portraiture. So he chose to start a portrait in our very public gallery space, during the busy Fall Art Tour.

Who to paint? Brian wanted a distinguished face. Someone who might be recognizable to “Pointers” as they stopped-in or strolled by, would only be a plus. A Mineral Point artist, well known to us as Laura Cisler, happened to have a father who was a retired businessman; a nonagenarian, and who later in life, fell in love with painting. Enter Ralph Martin. When asked by his daughter if he would like to sit for a portrait--in a gallery--his answer was yes!

Ralph sat for Brian on the busy Fall Art Tour Saturday, and again on Sunday. He took the crowded gallery, noise and activity all in stride. He returned the following two weekends to sit for few more hours each day.  During all this time Brian and Ralph struck-up something more than a painter-subject banter. Ralph soaked-up Brian’s on-going explanation of technique and methodology with the zeal of a young student. Their time together was not only special for them--it was touching to everyone got a glimpse of their rich connection.

Brian Stuart is unveiling Ralph Martin’s portrait at Wantoot on Saturday, December 5 at 1:00 pm. It will be on display in the gallery through December.

John L Richard's exploration of strong geometric forms in porcelain creates CubistWare.

Wisconsin artist John L Richard was actually a Wantoot client, before we started representing his work. Over the last several years, John would stop in with and his wife, during the festive Saturday Gallery Nights in Mineral Point. He would often collect a piece of pottery, or a piece of art jewelry. One Sunday afternoon this spring, John appeared with a plastic tote bin in hand. He explained that a mutual friend, potter Bruce Howdle suggested we talk. He wanted to show us his new passion: exploring forms molded in porcelain, that he creates individually using mini plaster bricks. He opened the tote: we were hooked.

John employs a technique called slip casting. This technique isn’t new or novel, in fact your toilet may have been made using a slip cast technique. It’s normally used to mass-produce ceramics (like toilets) or to create limited edition objects. What’s unique about John’s use is that each mold is unique. He creates a mold with his small blocks, and literally holds them together with rubber bands. After the porcelain has hardened, he is able to take the mold apart—and the form is lost forever. So although he is able to approximately make a piece again, he can’t do it perfectly, because he is starting with a new original mold every time.

John has a particular affinity for the strong geometric shapes and subtle variation in lines created by variations in the plaster bricks that he is able to obtain using this technique. We dubbed the pieces “CubistWare”—-and he thinks it’s the perfect name. He is continually exploring different shapes and forms and how they interplay with functional pottery forms like cups, vases and bowls. Every piece John makes with this technique is one-of-a-kind. White and black glazes are designed to highlight the forms and subtle mold lines. Our selection of pieces in the gallery and online is updated frequently and is constantly changing. See John's work here.

NCECA Exhibit, Wantoot Artists: New Work

The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts "NCECA" is hosting its 48th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, March 19 - 22 at the Wisconsin Center.

"Material World", the theme of the conference, will be dedicated to the investigation of the complex ways that materials acquire meaning through the things that we make and those that surround us in our daily lives. Exhibitions and programs will expand on traditional definitions of fine and decorative arts, craft and design in the context of the 21st century.

These annual NCECA events are the world's largest in the field of ceramic arts. The organization itself is comprised of over 4,000 members involved in all aspects of ceramics. Thousands of artists, educators, collectors, and industry professionals are expected to attend the conference and tour the region. Visit the NCECA site and learn more:

Museums, art organizations and galleries throughout southern Wisconsin are hosting concurrent exhibitions. You can download an entire exhibition tour program here:

Wantoot's concurrent gallery exhibition is from March 17 - May 4. Simply titled, "Wantoot Artists: New Work", the exhibit features diverse new sculptural and functional work from Wantoot ceramic artists: Natasha Poppe, Steven Skinner, Ash Kyrie, Paul Eshelman, Nicholas Bernard and Lynda Ladwig.  We're listed on page 19 of the NCECA Exhibition Guide. If you will be in the area, we welcome you to attend our reception on Saturday, March 22 from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm. You'll get a chance to meet several Wantoot ceramic artists.

Palaver, Ash Kyrie 

If you can't make it to Mineral Point for the show, you can browse the exhibition on our online NCECA Exhibit. You’ll see many of the new works that will be on display in the gallery.