When a couple of us saw that there was to be a major retrospective of Tom Loeser’s work, “It Could Have Been Kindling” at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI, we didn’t hesitate to make the long drive to visit the show – and Tom – as a collection of so many of his pieces in one setting is a rarity not to be missed. Tom is well known to us at Artful Home, a master artist and teacher at the University of Wisconsin. We have known him well over the years, and continue to represent talented artists like Sylvie Rosenthal who have come through his program here in Madison.
Loeser’s work is a clear example of art that can draw you in at a surface level for one reason and then twist your brain around and force you to think at another level entirely. Much of the work is quite colorful and can bring a smile when first glimpsed based on what appears to be its cleverness, but beneath the initial whimsy is both curiosity and precise engineering.
I am particularly drawn to Loeser’s double chairs, chairs which both represent and beg for conversations. When two people sit in one of the rockers, the behavior of one person has a direct effect on the other. As in a conversation, it takes a back and forth to make these rockers work.