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The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Foundation Gallery will host the Diane Levesque: Penny Dreadfuls exhibit from Oct. 23 to Nov. 16. A reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, from 4 to 7 p.m.

This series of paintings and drawings is a reinterpretation of Staffordshire figurines produced in Staffordshire, England.

The Staffordshire figurines of the early 1800s both idealized the lives of the poor and interpreted horrific events, like murders and lion attacks. The figurines were originally sold as mantelpiece decorations that were the equivalent of three-dimensional “penny dreadfuls” and satisfied the need of pre-Victorian and Victorian tastes for sensationalism in the public imagination.

Penny Dreadfuls were cheaply priced popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom.

Levesque amplifies the implied violence and sexuality of these figurines by exaggerating the gaudy random colors and decorative motifs. She has removed the sentimentality of the original figurines in her current paintings and drawings, while sharing the same subject matter.

Maintains practice at Racine’s 16th Street Studios

Diane Levesque

Levesque, assistant professor of art at Carthage College, received her M.F.A. from the University of Chicago. Levesque maintains a prominent studio practice at the 16th Street Studios in Racine. She has received numerous awards including an Illinois Arts Council Grant, the Gravida Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship Grant, and a Racine Art Museum Artists Fellowship in 2014.

Her work has been exhibited at numerous venues such as The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Evanston Art Center, The Madison Art Museum, The Wisconsin Academy of Art Gallery, The Rockford Art Museum, The Wustum Art Museum and the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Levesque maintains a prominent studio practice at the 16th Street Studios in Racine.

Mazeppa: Stealer of Hearts and Ladies Favors
Graphite on paper
11″ x 14″

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.