The interplay of the urban environment and natural landscape is my primary artistic inspiration. One goal of my work is to convey a broad sense of place while retaining the identity of local subjects. Social, economic, and environmental issues that underpin the reality of place inspire mark-making depicting subjects selected from the historic layers of the city and earthscape. Quick application of bright color provides the contextual foil and accentuates the fluid characteristic of paint and subject. Using plein-air excursions and a freestyle process to generate a spontaneous experience on and off the canvas I invite the audience to take time and ponder the significance of a place they may have passed but not seen.
Hal Koenig became a full-time artist in 2012 following a 30-year architectural career in southeast Wisconsin, and has been practicing seriously as an artist since 2005. Hal works about 75 percent of the time in oil and most of the rest in acrylic, with some exploration in other media. His experience in architecture and rendering pen and ink sketches with watercolor markers built the drawing foundation for the present work. When practical, the paintings begin plein-air. He is fortunate to have a strong regional sensibility gleaned from many fulfilling years living in one place, and is synthesizing an art passion with a history of working relationships in the community. Hal’s studio is located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.
Hal has completed painting workshops with Stuart Shils of the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of Art; Olivia Petrides and Marion Kryczka of the faculty at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Rodger Bechtold, contemporary landscape painter in Wisconsin. He completed his Bachelor of Architecture at North Dakota State University and holds a Master of Science in Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Exhibitions and Awards:
In 2013, Hal exhibited at four regional art fairs and received two awards: “Best in Painting” at Oconomowoc Wisconsin Festival of the Arts, and one of two “Juror’s Choice Awards” at the Hidden River Arts Festival in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Hal earned two additional awards in 2014 from Lake Geneva’s Art in the Park Festival and the Midsummer Festival of Arts in Sheboygan and one in 2015 at the Third Ward Art Festival in Milwaukee.
In 2012, the Wisconsin Museum of Art invited Hal to participate in their first exhibition of living artists at their St. John’s on the Lake campus entitled “Summer Painting Milwaukee Exhibition”
The same year, Hal was a finalist for the Pfister Hotel Artist-in-Residence competition.
Hal is an Invited Artist since 2008 at “Open Canvas,” an annual live-painting benefit for the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; has demoed for the Milwaukee Sketch Club; and was featured in the lecture/exhibit “Infrastructure/Nature” at the Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee.
From 2006 to present, Hal has had numerous individual and group shows at local entertainment venues and exhibits quarterly at the Milwaukee’s Third Ward Gallery Night and Day.
Lecturing/Art History Experience:
Hal was a tour guide for the Historic Milwaukee organization for 3 years, conducting the Spaces and Traces shows as well as regularly scheduled walking tours featuring historic areas and highlighting the city’s social and architectural history. As a fifth-year student at North Dakota State, Hal was a teaching assistant for lecture and workshop.
Selected Exhibitions and Awards:
2014 First Place "Last Run", Riverkeeper Art Competition, Milwaukee, WI
2013 "Best in Painting" Festival of the Arts, Oconomowoc WI
2013 "Jurors' Choice", Hidden River Arts Festival, Brookfield WI
2012 "Summer Painting Exhibition", Wisconsin Museum of Art
2012 Finalist, Pfister Hotel Artist-in Residence Competition
2008 "Open Canvas" Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
2006 Milwaukee's Third Ward Gallery Night and Day