Oct 16 2021


7:00 pm


$Give What You Can

Conversation: Lois Bielefeld’s To commit to memory *HYBRID*

In-person at Woodland Pattern and live streaming via Crowdcast.

(Register to attend in person, below.)




Join us to celebrate the publication of Lois Bielefeld’s To commit to memory. We’re excited to welcome Lois in conversation with Shannon Brennan, Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Carthage College, and Debra Brehmer, Gallery Director at Portrait Society Gallery.

To commit to memory (2020–21) delves into Lois Bielefeld’s parents’ lives, particularly their conservative evangelicalism and how this plays out within the home. Being on different ends of the political spectrum, Lois and her parents constantly straddle a wide ideological chasm, yet somehow they actively negotiate and bridge their differences through the act of making. Through photographic re-enactments, Bielefeld examines domesticity, power relations, ritual, faith, aging, memory, and the everyday. The series comprises constructed photographic re-enactments, house/object studies, 4 video works, and an audio installation. 

The work in To commit to memory will be on view at Portrait Society Gallery as a solo show from September 17 through November 13. (Click here to view excerpts of the video works.) The book will be available at both Woodland Pattern and Portrait Society Gallery. Shannon Brennan’s The Stuff of Immortality: Lois Bielefeld’s Photographs of Daily Afterlife introduces the book, which was designed by Mark Brautigam and printed by Conveyor Studios. To commit to memory will be a limited edition of 100 books. 

Lois Bielefeld is a queer series-based artist working in photography, audio, video, and installation. Her work continually asks the question of what links routine and ritual to the formation of identity and personhood and the development of meaning-making.

Recently settling back home in Milwaukee, Lois has lived on both coasts. After her daughter went off to college, Bielefeld decided to pursue her graduate degree and just completed her MFA at California Institute of the Arts. Besides photography, she feels passionate about traveling, hiking, eating, swimming, and bicycling adventures with her wife.  

Her work is in the permanent collections of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Saint Kate Arts Hotel, the Warehouse Museum and the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin. Bielefeld has shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, de Young Museum, and Saint Kate. 

Debra Brehmer, Gallery Director at Portrait Society Gallery, is an art historian who teaches part time at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She has curated numerous exhibitions and written extensively about art for various publications for 20 years. Locally, her writing can be found regularly in Milwaukee Magazine and nationally in Hyperallergic. She was also the founder, publisher, and editor of Art Muscle Magazine.

Shannon Brennan is an Assistant Professor of English at Carthage College and also serves as the Director of Writing Development. She earned her BA degrees in English and theater from the University of Maryland, her MA in English from Fordham University, and her PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She specializes in fin-de-siécle American literature, queer theory, and cultural studies, and most recently she has been teaching in UCLA’s Writing Programs.


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In-person attendance will be limited to 15 audience members. All in-person attendees must wear masks.


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