Past Tense was inspired by RAM’s Twentieth Anniversary in 2023 and the concurrent Wustum exhibition, Futures Reimagined: RAM Community Art Show. Whether as a source for memories, inspiration, an accounting of events and people, or lessons learned, both an anniversary celebration and an exhibition with artists considering the future encourage looking at what has happened in the past.
RAM’s extensive works on paper collection includes two print portfolios that address time in different ways—each way connecting place to time and space. The Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Portfolio, commissioned in honor of the State’s 150th anniversary, combines the work of various contemporary artists—many of whom have or had connections to Wisconsin. Visually and thematically wide-ranging, the prints reflect artists’ responses to the history and character of the State of Wisconsin.
Selections from John Doyle’s The Builders, The Great Human Race, show how the artist looks at the past as a point on a continuum of civilizations. After intensely studying various societies across the globe, Doyle has visually linked architectural achievements of different eras and cultures to community building.