You may have noticed a peculiar exhibition in-front of the University of Wisconsin – Stout’s Furlong Gallery. This exhibition was titled, “Permissions,” and was created by Senior Jess Maedke, an Interior Design major with a minor in Studio Art.

 “This was actually for a project in the sculpture one class, and the premise was about structure. I started thinking about the structure of time and control and wanted to create this environment where it was interactive for people who pass by,” said Maedke. 

Photograph of original “Permissions” Exhibition. Created by Jess Maedke.

The exhibition had a piece of paper underneath which read, “Here you will find a sanctioned moment to rebel against what is considered allowable, both by your own standards and by those around you. Check in with your inner child. Has it been a while since you talked? This piece is interactive. You are the participant. You decide how to interact. You have the means to destroy. You have the means to create. Treasures can be taken. Treasures can be added. The rules are arbitrary. I give you permission to do.” 

Maedke stated that there was a sense of surprise by the amount of change to the original exhibition. 

“When I started this project, the word, “vandalism,” never really clicked into my mind. In my brain I pictured this gradual change where it was free-play and nice and interesting. But it quickly became chaotic and actually really cool. I was forfeiting control before I even understood beforehand. That was the nature in the piece, it was where it ended up.”

Maedke contacted the Interim Associate Dean for the School of Art & Design, Charles Lume. Through this contact Maedke was able to propose the process of hoisting this exhibition. 

“He [Charles] was so helpful because there was construction going on right where I wanted the exhibition to go. The construction started the day after I decided I wanted to put my exhibition there [In-front of Furlong Gallery]. Because of this, there was a little bit of pushback from others due to this construction. But Charles really fought for this to move forward,” said Maedke. 

Maedke will graduate this up-coming May and plans on continuing her endeavors at, “Glass Orchard,” in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Maedke has been employed at Glass Orchard since her sophomore year and will become an apprentice in the hot shop. 

 Photograph of “Permissions” Exhibition days later. By Logan J. Glaser

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