Alfons Gallery Illuminates Janet Roberts' Vision of Past Lives

Acrylic paintings offer 21st century appreciation of mid-century American life
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* Milwaukee - Wisconsin - US

MILWAUKEE - Jan. 9, 2014 - PRLog -- Alfons Gallery is continuing the long-standing commitment of the School Sisters of St. Francis to the arts by spotlighting the paintings of Milwaukee-area artist Janet Roberts in the exhibit “Illuminating Past Lives.” An opening reception will be held Sunday, January 26, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., with Roberts presenting an artist talk at 3 p.m.

The exhibit, which continues to March 30, takes as its inspiration black and white photographs, vintage fabric, wallpaper, and objects from the 1930s-1950s. Roberts’ large acrylic paintings offer complex narratives that integrate these elements with painted figures, compressing them into narrow to flat environments.

Some of Roberts’ pieces include recognizable, historic figures; others present unknown persons who represent characteristics of these areas through individual and interactive gestures and clothing.

Valerie J. Christell, the gallery’s director and curator, said Roberts’ images of that era’s culture, people, and events reflects the School Sisters’ appreciation for culture and history.

“Roberts takes us on an insightful journey of by-gone times through visual scraps of history juxtaposed with a unique style of figurative painting,” Christell said. “Additionally, her particular narrative method is engaging in that it invites personal reflections on our own memories.”

A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Roberts earned a degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1966 and began entering and showing paintings in Chicago area art fairs and exhibitions. Her early concentration was on landscape painting, but she later began experimenting with oil and collage. She relocated to the Milwaukee area 15 years ago and became very involved with the non-profit, membership-based Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors (now Wisconsin Visual Artists) and the League of Milwaukee Artists. Her work has been displayed at a number of local galleries

“I have always loved antiques and this led me to the discovery of vintage fabric and wallpaper, and the use of them as a backdrop for what I call my ‘retro portraits’,” Roberts said in her artist statement. “I enjoy placing objects together that may seem questionable, but that hint of a ‘through-the-looking-glass’ world just out of reach. I think the term ‘magic realist’ sums up what I am trying to achieve with my paintings.”

Alfons Gallery is located at St. Joseph Center, 1501 S. Layton Blvd. (27th Street and Greenfield Avenue) in Milwaukee. Free parking is available in the lot that is accessible on 29th and Orchard (Alexia Circle entrance). For more information on Alfons Gallery, please email, call 414-385-5273, or visit the Gallery’s website at The Gallery is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 12:00-3:00 p.m., and by appointment.

About Alfons Gallery

Alfons Gallery’s mission reflects the local and global work of the School Sisters of St. Francis.  Exhibitions celebrate cultural diversity and advocate for justice, peace and the environmentthrough the artistic vision.  Special events aim to both educate and inspire viewers about our world and the impact every individual makes in it.

Our Cultural Shop’s mission is to expand cultural awareness and support artisans working in our global missions as well as fine craft artists working locally.

About The School Sisters of St. Francis

The School Sisters of St. Francis are an international community of Catholic sisters who unite with others to build a just and peaceful world. Founded in 1874, they now have sisters, associates, staff, donors and volunteers actively working to address the needs of those who are poor and marginalized by society. Their mission is thriving throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and India. For more information about the School Sisters of St. Francis, please visit

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