Meet the Artist. Please join us. August 5th 5-7 PM, Three Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCFA), The Marie Moore Gallery presents Linda Woiak, an artist who works with clay and incorporates whimsy.
It is a delight to encounter Woiak’s work in which a spice shaker is a bird with an expression that makes you laugh, or endears you. A jar is presented as a raccoon reaching out to grab something bulging with its big and curious eyes. A bunny becomes a sugar bowl, or a bowl displays a monarch butterfly at its bottom.
Woiak’s world in clay is full of characters that express joy, wonder, curiosity or mishap. There are pieces that include women with howling wolves or a mermaid holding a shell. A mug might have a turtle sunning on its handle. A plate may present a mouse nibbling on a piece of cheese. When viewing her work, one is often left with a whimsical story about the characters.
She was born into a family of makers. Her mother and grandmother always had their hands into something creative as long as she can remember.
Woiak began sculpting around the age of 10 with wax from candles on the boat her family lived on for periods of time. She would collect the wax and begin to shape it into little animals.
“I’ve traveled and taken many classes and courses, and learned from a lot of artists although my biggest influences are still my mother and grandmother,” she explains.
Woiak grew up and went to school in Greenfield. The North Woods was home for her every summer. In the winters, she was often on a boat off the coast of Florida.
Wherever she was, she spent her time almost exclusively outside. TV was never watched and she maintains that habit today. She learned to fill her time with exploring and creating, and has spent her adult life in the North Woods where she worked and raised her two children.
Having been encouraged to paint from many of her art teachers, Linda continued to lean toward 3D work.
She credits Bob Kanyusik, who was her teacher and art director at Nicolet College in Rhinelander, and other women artists in the North Woods, as being very supportive and an influence on her.
In Florida, where she spends her winters, she has had the same experience as she meets other artists. She is a studio monitor at the Englewood Art Center, Ringling College of Art and Design.
Living and working in a community of artists has inspired her and keeps her trying new things. The environment she is in, is reflected in her work, whether it be North Woods plants, animals or creatures, shells or plant life from the ocean.
Previously, Woiak has created diverse art media; teaching and exhibiting her work with birch bark, pine needle baskets, weaving with roots, paintings, and beading, to name a few. She also taught the children’s program for 15 years for the TLCFA.
When posed with the question of what is next for her as an artist, Woiak responds that she doesn’t like to do the same thing over. She has learned a great deal with her pottery and it is not an easy task to construct a solid piece and embellish it. She would like to move into purely sculptural pieces that are less functional. She is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Her exhibit throughout August, at TLCFA, will include her pottery, some paintings and she will honor her biggest influence, by showing some of her mother’s, Sandy Woiak’s, paintings.
The gallery will host an artist reception Friday, Aug. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.