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The Iron Horse Hotel™ prominently features the work of three Milwaukee artists whose contribution to the project reflects a desire to highlight local artists and celebrate artistry through hand craftsmanship.
Noted artist and Milwaukee native Charles J. Dwyer tells a strong narrative through his art - stories make a very public statement at The Iron Horse Hotel. Commissioned by hotel owner Tim Dixon, the artist used his volumes of fine art photography to create original mixed-media murals to adorn entire walls in each of the 102 guest rooms.
Years ago, Dwyer actively began challenging the stereotypes of Milwaukee women through fashion-forward, provocative images. He photographed local women, acquaintances and inexperienced models, made costumes and built original and ornate stage sets to accentuate the timeless nature of the female subject. At The Iron Horse Hotel, these images appear as wall murals: printed in sepia tone in large format on archival canvas and hand embellished by Dwyer with a patina of transparent hues that reflect the hotel’s overall color palette – rust, Verde green, hemlock gold, steel and aubergine. Dwyer, a master of mixed-media drawing and painting, served as a color consultant on the entire project and created original frescoes sensitive to the WPA style throughout the hotel. Prominent in the lobby is also Dwyer's "Americana Flag," using 32 and 1/2 pairs of jeans as the canvas for an iconic American flag.
The artist, a Wisconsin native and graduate of the Milwaukee School of Art, has developed a national following since his first New York exhibition sold out in 1992.
Amber Van Galder
In keeping with its theme of fusing industrial aesthetics with cutting edge amenities, The Iron Horse Hotel commissioned Milwaukee sculptor Amber Van Galder to create unique works of art out of recycled aluminum. The original pieces are displayed above beds in the hotel’s guest rooms.
Van Galder created the pieces to resemble industrial metal spills commonly found on the floors of metal foundries. The artist melted down 40 pounds of recycled aluminum for each piece, pouring the spills into sand, and then hand polishing them to a brilliant patina.
Cindy Lesky is an urban artist who focuses on communicating what she sees in real life. The desire to capture and share the world around her has been a life long journey from pencil drawing and textile work to photography and digital media. Today she balances her creativity between photography and photo manipulation. Her pieces "Sixth Street Bridge" and "Three Graces" are on permanent display and can be found in The Iron Horse Hotel lobby near the elevators and in the 5th Floor Executive Suite. Both pieces are digital montages on brushed aluminum.
A self-taught photographer for 26 years, Cindy Lesky was born and raised in the Midwest and gets much of her in spiration from downtown Milwaukee. She says she is still learning new things everyday and strives to combine her love of artwork and photography to achieve a beautiful final image.