"Strange God" copyright 2010 Estate of Bernard Gilardi
Gallerist and art historian Debra Brehmer of Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee drove home the point that Bernard Gilardi (1920-2008) focused his imagination in the space of a basement for four decades to express the world within his head. His identities as father, husband, Italian, war veteran, lithographer, Milwaukee, Wisconsin resident informed his work as reflected in an exhibition of his "religious" paintings on view at Lawrence University's Wriston Art Center Galleries January 6-March 11, 2012. Pop culture infiltrated and informed his nirvana from blow dried hair and unisex fashions to Jesus Christ Superstar and the Wisconsin State Fair. His art practice, though without support or detraction from the art establishment, enabled him to fully articulate an inner universe his family described as "primitive" in his obituary. "Inner Light", the old Beatles 45 RPM flipside of "Lady Madonna" written by George Harrison, drones: "Without going out of your door, you can know the ways of heaven" bringing to mind Gilardi and his sacred cosmic comic basement space.