SPARK: A Material Studios Exhibition at the Frank Juarez Gallery

“SPARK: A Material Studios Exhibition”

July 13 – August 31, 2019

Frank Juarez Gallery

207 E. Buffalo Street, Sixth Floor

Milwaukee, WI 53202


Press Release

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - The Frank Juarez Gallery is pleased to present "SPARK: A Material Studios Exhibition”, an exhibition featuring new work by Pamela Anderson, Nina Ghanbarzadeh, Clare Jorgensen, Nirmal Raja, Bela Roongta, andAlan Thompson-Wallace. 

SPARK is an exhibition with an inventive and ambitious origin and goal. Curator Barbara O’Brien, who moved to Milwaukee in May 2018 from Kansas City where she served as Executive Director (2012-17) and Director of Exhibitions and Collections (2009-12) at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She was invited to curate an exhibition that featured artists from the Material Studio. Selections were based on studio visits where each artist was invited to share one work with O’Brien that was on the “leading edge” of their practice. Six artists were selected to meet with O’Brien over the next year as they develop this new work for SPARK. “What a marvelous welcome to Milwaukee,” said O’Brien. “The dialog between artist and curator will undoubtedly generate surprise and excitement not only for me, but also for the artists and visitors to the exhibition.”

This exhibition runs from July 23 – August 31, 2019, with areception on July 13 from 5-8pm. The Frank Juarez Gallery is located at 207 E. Buffalo Street, Ste. 600, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202. 

Pamela Anderson is known for bold, colorful strokes and gestural movement, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – artist, Pamela Anderson, brings a modern dimension to her Abstract works. She applies paint in vibrant colors, allowing creations to emerge spontaneously. Her paintings and sculptures are untitled which allows her work to be experienced with open interpretation by the viewer.  She is a full-time artist, an Affiliate and Co-Managing Director of Material Studios + Gallery. She was awarded the title of Pfister Artist in Residence for the 2016-2017 Artist-in-Residence Program at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran Nina Ghanbarzadeh transplanted in Wisconsin in 2001. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UWM with a focus in fine art and graphic design in 2013. She is also a teaching artist and has been involved in many workshops, lectures and presentations. 

Clare Jorgensen, a Milwaukee artist, works in encaustic and cold wax.  Her work evokes imagination and her subject matter is socially informed. Jorgensen has participated in a number of exhibitions in Milwaukee, Algoma, Cedarburg, Elkhart Lake, and Chicago. She is a 2018 Finalist for the Pfister Hotel AIR Program. 

Nirmal Raja received a BA in India, a BFA at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and an MFA at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She has been a mentor at Redline Milwaukee and continues to mentor artists through the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network. Her art practice is inter-disciplinary and conceptual exploring themes of memory, identity and transience.   

Taking pen to paper Bela Suresh Roongta draws in the tradition of henna, the ancient east-Indian art of her ancestors.  A self-taught artist, she plays with lines and the spaces in between capturing the complexities of our past, the times we live in and the human spirit.  

Alan Thompson-Wallace is an award winning British mixed media figurative artist, Co-owner of Saxon Wallace Gallery inside Material Studios, Public sculpture artist including Beasties on Parade at Milwaukee Zoo and organizer, host, curator, teacher, theater set artist, and exhibitor for various art events across the world. 

Barbara O’Brien is a curator, educator, and museum leader with a national reputation and an impressive record of accomplishments. “I have dedicated my career to being an advocate for the art and artists of our time,” she shared. “’What’s next?’ is the question that motivates my curatorial practice. Beauty and form can bring us into dialog with the ideas and cultural landscape of our time.” 

O’Brien joined the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art as curator in 2009 where she developed the museum’s traveling exhibition program and oversaw the production of important exhibitions and related catalogs. Prior to joining the Kemper, she was an assistant professor of art at Simmons College in Boston, where she was also director of the college’s Trustman Art Gallery and head of its arts administration program. From 2003-06 she was editor-in-chief of Art New England magazine and from 1990-2001 was director of the gallery and visiting artist program at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. A native of Bonner Springs, Kansas, O’Brien earned a master’s degree in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and holds bachelor’s degrees in women’s studies and journalism from the University of Kansas.
The Frank Juarez Gallery is committed to supporting artists working in painting, photography, sculpture, video, installation, and mixed media works. We aim to create an accessible, educational, and engaging exhibition space for our artists, audience, and the Milwaukee community. The Frank Juarez Gallery exhibits and promotes the work of artists who value innovation, technical discipline and artistic excellence in their chosen medium. 

For further information on the exhibition,"SPARK: A Material Studio Exhibition”,please email or call 920.559.7181.   



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