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Art Environments

Collection Series

Mary Nohl, WI

 

Mary Nohl's Lake Cottage Environment undergoing restoration, 2015.

Mary Nohl, Lake Cottage Environment (site detail, Fox Point, WI), c. 1960–2001. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection.

 

1914–2001

In and around her cottage on the Lake Michigan shore just north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mary Nohl created a vivid, multidimensional environment. She viewed virtually anything as potential material for making art and tried her hand at everything. Nohl similarly viewed all interesting ideas worth exploring on her own and looked at art and culture from the world over. What influenced her the most, however, was the immense lake lying just outside her door. Nohl envisioned a fantasy world beneath the waves, where creatures lived funny and interesting lives. A cast of characters reemerged in her paintings, sculptures, and in the bas-relief wooden friezes that enveloped her small home. The environment Nohl made was highly expressive of both her artistic character and that of her lakeshore cottage and yard. Nohl worked with Kohler Foundation, Inc. and the Arts Center to ensure that both her environment and the works that extended beyond it would be cared for into the future.