Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guthrie at the Congo 3-13-12

Willis Guthrie addresses First Congregational UCC 
Plymouth Circle, Waukesha, WI

A Quaker himself, his parents were both Quaker ministers in Iowa.  There were nine children.
"There's NINE of us!"

First, he partakes of breakfast delicacies with the ladies,

then commences his lecture on some of his artwork.  A former chair of the art department at Carroll College (now University), the act of lecturing is just falling off a log-time for Wis.

Friend Libby Sellars listens intently, smilingly. Soft-spoken Wis at 94 has not lost any of his wry humor. 

Known widely for his assemby of found objects into art pieces, Wis, in his retirement at the Avalon, without studio or basement workshop, enjoys cutting magazines in his apartment and reassembling pictorial representations in amusing and sometimes justifying ways, to him  - and others in the world, for Wis is widely appreciated and celebrated.

He looks for balance in his art, always his underlying theme.  Above, a calm buffalo stands in the way of a roaring steam engine.  A toilet with its handle resembling to Wis an eye, gets another eye on the right side of the tank. (Enlarge these pictures for better seeing.)

Here, a cat-house is dragged through heavy traffic, kitten in mouth.  Policeman holds up traffic to let cat and entourage safely pass.

Guthrie adds an out-sized and nicely-wrinkled eye to elephant.  Places keeper/tamer within trunk crook.  All work he does with sharp scissors and careful fitting.  But not too much planning, for Wis operates foremost on spontaneous impulses.

A raccoon, added to a magazine representation of a shoreline florid 'fish' seems to suggest he's bashful being seen in the washing of his big meal.

Wis, whose wife Ina passed recently, now holds forth in an apartment at the Avalon Square. A picture on his front door is also a pictorial assembly he did.  In it, Wis and Ina stand on the porch of their long-ago residence at 'Maniac Manor', a former asylum and then convent at Hartwell and College Avenues, Waukesha.