Hanging Ariel Wood's show, A Point In Between, was a delight. Her large scale sculptural pieces and installations are on display now through March 31st in the Central Library 3rd floor gallery.
Visually striking, A Point In Between is a mediation on intimacy and communication, and is perfect for the towering space and natural lighting of the gallery. But even more than loving the work, we're smitten with the artist herself.
The Bubbler team first met Ariel five years ago, as a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin studying art and print making. Ariel attended an opening of one of her professor's shows in the then newly-renovated Central Library and was struck by the space.
Laughing, she told us, "One of my professors said it might be a good idea to find an internship at a local gallery while I was in school." She struck up a conversation with Trent Miller that night at the show and before she knew it, she was on the team. "It was wonderful. It all happened so organically."
From Summer Intern to Exhibiting Artist
That summer, Ariel interned with the Bubbler assisting with the new gallery. She communicated with artists, hung shows, but most importantly, she created the systems for our calendar, communication, and installation that we still use today.
Partnering with another long-time Bubbler volunteer and past exhibitor at the library, Emily Lewis, their organization and attention to detail helped create a sustainable pathway for the Bubbler as an art hub.
It also helped develop Ariel as an artist. "Organizing the process of all the behind-the-scenes elements, I learned about the human of the gallery - how much it matters to be considerate and listen to how an artist envisions their work in a space. And also the importance of being able to communicate about your work when working with the gallery."
"Being able to have a show here was such an incredible experience. It really feels like I have been able to come full circle from where I started in Madison."
Library as a Gallery Space
With the Bubbler mission, we are committed to hands-on learning and making, but also to creating opportunities for the public to experience and appreciate art from local and regional artists.
This vision is one reason Ariel was so excited to show here. "As an art space, the library brings in a community of people who often don’t consider themselves 'art people' or who wouldn’t normally go to a gallery. It allows an artist to reach a broader audience. And having the art constantly change allows people to see so much as they are just naturally using the space."
"The gallery and the Artist-in-Residence program makes the library a less static space. It creates an opportunity so you can be a person who gives to the library, rather than just the library giving to you."
We are delighted to have Ariel sharing her work with us, giving to us, this spring.
It was wonderful to reflect with Ariel on the impact of art in the library, but we also wanted to know what she gained from her experiences as an intern with us. It didn't take her long to answer. "The connections!"
Ariel came to UW from out of state, drawn by the printing program in the art department. Working with the Bubbler she quickly developed a network of artists and opportunities. "It made Madison feel local to me, but that community also felt like it was continuously expanding."
After a four month post-grad experience in Italy, Ariel was able to reconnect with the local scene quickly, exhibiting her first local show at Drunk Lunch.
She's remained connected to her local network in Madison through her art, but also through her WSUM radio poetry show. "Last summer I hosted a guest poet every week. It was a lot to keep up, but so may of those connections were directly related to my network I started at the Bubbler."