Imaginative Creatures Abound in New Alfons Exhibit
While we’re accustomed to looking toward the sky when we think about migrations, Wisconsin artist Stephanie Copoulos-Selle’s new exhibit of printed works invites viewers to envision the undersea journey of imaginative hybrid creatures, and to think more broadly about the effects of globalization.
“Migration of the Seapirs: From Florida to Cuba” opens with a reception on Sunday, April 8, from 1:00-3:00 p.m., and will include a talk by the artist at 2:00 p.m.
The exhibit reflects Copoulos-Selle’s fascination with the concept of combined animals, born of her interest in genetics and how inherited genes make people who they are. She muses that throughout history, people were either lucky or unlucky with their genes. Today, with scientific advancements, genetic engineering is a reality, and so could be genetic hybrids.
The Alfons Gallery installation immerses viewers in a printmaker’s fantasy underwater environment of animal hybrids. Viewers will wind their way through printed hangings that depict an imaginary Florida-to-Cuba migration of Copoulos-Selle’s “Seapir,” a hybrid sea turtle and tapir. As they follow the Seapir’s journey, gallery visitors will encounter other wildlife combinations from Copoulos-Selle’s imagination until they reach Lady Crab Reef, home of a hybrid ladybug and crab.
Within the smaller gallery space, visitors can view Copoulos-Selle’s artist books and prints focused on this theme.
Valerie J. Christell, Alfons Gallery’s director and curator, notes that Copoulos-Selle’s works speak metaphorically to cultural hybridization in the 21st century, brought about by global social and mass media. “We are reminded of how we each change with what we learn about other cultures across the globe, and how we assimilate aspects of that knowledge into our everyday lives,” Christell said.
Copoulos-Selle also creates sirens—inspired by the hybrid siren of Green mythology—to which she’s added her own personal twist as she relates them to local communities. These are included in the exhibit.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Copoulos-Selle received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After graduating she traveled in Europe and Africa, where she fell in love with Egyptian art. She taught printmaking, painting, design, drawing, digital imagining and design, and ancient to medieval art history at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha for 37 years.
In 1991, Coupoulos-Selle began making artist’s books and founded the Citron Press. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. It is included in more than 55 collections including Yale University, Otis College of Art and Design, The Library of Congress, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Washington, Indiana University, Mills College, and Quad Graphics. In 2008 she was awarded a Women’s Studio Workshop Grant and Artist’s Book Residency.
“Migration of the Seapirs: From Florida to Cuba” will be on view through May 27, 2018.