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Artist in Residence Jim Toth on Grant Park beach

Jim Toth: Artist in Residence in Grant Park

11:56 am  |  Topics: featured artist


The Natural Realm presents James (Jim) Toth, who is among 11 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and Milwaukee County Parks Department. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.

Artist Statement by Jim Toth

As a sculptor I am interested in the exploration of beauty and grace. From sketches to sculpting, from finishing to titling, my efforts are focused on achieving a balance and harmony for each piece. Although my work is primarily abstract, I have an affinity for natural, organic forms that I hope can be related to on many levels. By purposely being nonrepresentational, I invite personal interpretation and imaginative exploration by the viewer.

Cygnet. 17″ tall, carved cement.

As a native of South Milwaukee, Grant Park has always been “my park!” From pre-school memories of walking to see the fireworks, to harrowing pre-teen bluff-edge bike rides and all-day explorations, to high school “gatherings” on the beach, to frequent adult visits, the park has always been a special, personal place. And now I look forward to deepening that relationship by revisiting my park with an artist’s eye. I am excited about expanding my sculpting to involve sand, stone and wood and exploring the dynamics of a living landscape as inspiration for new directions including poetry in the form of haiku, another art form I’ve always appreciated for its simplicity.

I am unsure of where all this will lead, but am sure that it will be a rewarding and fun return to my roots.

New Work and Work in Progress

Inspirational image.
Untitled. 28” long, driftwood embedded in carved cement.
Sequence of work as it progressed.
Inspirational image.
Kodama. 22” tall, driftwood embedded in carved cement.
First ARTservancy piece, received “Best of Show” in 2022 Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art Membership Exhibition
Jim Toth on Grant Park beach experimenting with a sand mold for casting a cementitious sculpture. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

Gallery of Sculptures and Haiku

Bishop. 18″ tall, carved cement.
Whorled. 22″ diameter, carved cement.

The Shore

Time-tumbled glacial

remains smoothed into little

gems of wonderment

Ascent. 24″ tall, carved cement.
Elation. 36″ tall, carved cement.
Revelation. 13″ diameter, carved cement.

The Woods

Emerald, forest,

kelly, chartreuse, hunter, sage,

turquoise, lime, ALIVE!

Fiddlehead. 29″ tall, carved cement.
Regatta. 19″ tall, carved cement.
Progression. 18″ tall, carved cement.

Seven Bridges

From road to path to

stairs to trail to bridge to bridge…

to tranquility

Nascence. 16″ tall, carved cement.
Unabashed. 18″ tall, carved cement.
Nuevo. 19″ tall, carved cement.

The Bluff

On the edge looking

out to a vast horizon

full of fluid dreams

Triumvirate. 14″ diameter, carved cement.
Predator. 30″ tall, carved cement.
Witness. 18″ tall, carved cement.

Driftwood

Bones of the forest

buried by relentless storms

ghostly roots exposed

Entwined. 20″ tall, carved cement.

BIO

Jim Toth in Grant Park.
Photo by Eddee Daniel

I live and work in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I have been sculpting since 1985. My work, carved and finished by hand from cast blocks of cementitious materials, features clearly defined, abstract forms with highly refined, marble-like surfaces.

I have shown and sold my work in many venues including the highly competitive Lakefront Festival of Arts, the Cudahy Gallery of Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Underwood Gallery, Gallery H2O, Gallery 218, Carroll University, UW Waukesha, Boerner Botanical Gardens, and numerous juried art fairs and group exhibitions. My sculpture is in the collections of Johnson Controls, Sax Arts and Crafts, Stark Investments, Carroll University and over 100 private individuals around the country.                                                                                                 

At the end of 2010, after a 15-year career as Director of Exhibits, I retired from the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee. Prior to that, I was the K-12 art coordinator and an art teacher for the South Milwaukee Public Schools.

To learn more about Grant Park go to our Find-a-Park page.

This residency is sponsored by Friends of Grant Park and Milwaukee County Parks.

This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2019-2020 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted. The featured photo at the top of Jim Toth walking on the beach at Grant Park is by Eddee Daniel. Milwaukee County Parks Department is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.