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Milwaukee exhibit features works of Charles Radtke

Charles Radtke’s “Sarcophagus No. 6”.

Charles Radtke’s “Sarcophagus No. 6”.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is hosting a furniture exhibit, “Charles Radtke: Contained”, that runs through Aug. 25.

This is the first retrospective exhibition for the prominent furniture maker who lives and works in Cedarburg, Wis. Radtke’s objects are in several private and museum collections, including the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Milwaukee Art Museum.

More than 35 cabinets, tables, chairs and doors featuring the artist’s signature craftsmanship and attention to detail will be on view in the museum’s Bradley Family Gallery. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s ongoing exploration of the cabinet as a container. Several works have intricately designed interiors or hidden compartments, while others are more traditional woodworking forms.

The more recent works featured in the exhibition show the artist going beyond the mastery of technique toward a more conceptual exploration within the forms, including challenging, rather than enhancing, the natural characteristics of certain woods, according to the museum.

Charles Radtke’s “One on One”.

Charles Radtke’s “One on One”.

“Radtke’s pieces initially draw the viewer in through the technical mastery and elegance of the work,” Margaret Andera, the museum’s interim chief curator, said in a statement. “A closer look, however, reveals surprising features such as asymmetrical wood grain patterns, five-sided legs, and subtly painted details. We have watched the evolution of Radtke’s career and are excited to bring greater national attention to this extraordinary artist.”

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Oklahoma honors a Texan

The Forest Heritage Center Museum, officially designated as the “Wood Art Capital of Oklahoma”, gets to pick its Master Woodworker of the Year. And this year, the honor goes to Wayne Delyea of Granbury, Texas.

Delyea’s work, alongside the other finalists, will be on display at the museum’s Wood Art Gallery through May 5.

“The objects will be diverse and should create a lot of conversation about the beautiful art forms that come from trees,” says FHC director Doug Zook. “We are pleased to have these talented wood artists commit to a project of this magnitude and help raise the stature of wood art in Oklahoma.”

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This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue.

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