Theresa Abel and Tim O’Neill are Wisconsin artists who split their time between their gallery Abel Contemporary and their Madison based studios. Abel received a BFA from the UW Wisconsin, Madison in 1991 and shortly after became one of the founding members of the Madison arts collective, ArtBite, which exhibited in and around the Madison area from 1994-2008. Working in oil paint, silver point drawing and gilding, Abel’s elaborate patterns mesmerize the viewer and blur the line between modernism and medieval, telling stories with figures and elaborate patterns which draw heavily from her background growing up in the Catholic church as well as her strong interest in art history, particularly medieval Italian paintings.
She has spent the past two decades directing Abel Contemporary Gallery that has been building a reputation as one of the largest and most impressive collections of fine art and fine craft in the region, featuring notable works in many media, and hosting new exhibits every six to seven weeks by artists from across the nation. Abel and her partner, Tim O’Neill, recently relocated their gallery to an 1891 Tobacco Warehouse they purchased and renovated that is located just south of Madison in Stoughton, WI. The 12,000 square foot building known as AO Arts Warehouse contains the gallery as well as six artist studios. Abel also consults, lectures and serves as juror for numerous art fairs and art centers, served on the artist advisory board for the Lakefront festival of the arts, Milwaukee, WI and served on the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission Grant Advisory Panel.
Tim O’Neill’s interest in anthropology and archeology has led to his research in historical artwork of the Mayan culture, African Textiles as well as Chinese sculpture and enamel work. This exploration has facilitated his creation of a body of work using traditional woodworking techniques such as carving and burning. The burnt surface of the carved works creates an age and weightiness to the pieces. Contrasting this with the beautiful and refined figured woods and innovative techniques, each piece has a feel of being both ancient and contemporary.