Joseph Mougel: Herbarium & Richard Moninski: Clash/Meld

James Watrous Gallery

Nov. 18, 2024 - Jan. 22, 2023

201 State St
Madison, 53703

Photographer Joseph Mougel and painter and digital artist Richard Moninski visualize the entangled relationships between nature and culture in two solo exhibitions showing from November 18, 2022 to January 22, 2023.

Joseph Mougel’s Herbarium project is a series of photographs inspired by plant archives and the desire to capture and preserve things that comprise a place. Living plants, both native and introduced, are contained or surrounded by darkroom equipment and scientific instruments, describing narratives of transition, colonization, and the exploration of the prairie. Mougel’s photographs illustrate moments of wonder, of not fully comprehending or seeing the world as a place of magic, as well as attempts to describe and analyze nature. This tension between the miraculous and the understood describes a journey of discovery, and an environment filled with mysteries for curious people to explore.

Richard Moninski’s recent paintings explore several themes: the systemization of nature, the decorative impulse, the choices between representation and abstraction, and the history and culture of specific places. His paintings and drawings juxtapose indigenous flora and fauna, manmade artifacts, and stylized representations of plants taken from European decorative arts traditions such as tapestry and lace-making. Painting directly onto commercially printed camouflage fabric, Moninski reworks the military connotations of the material and bends it into a commentary on the meeting place of nature and culture.

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