Zwadlo grew up on a dairy farm, helping his family feed 50 cows in northern Wisconsin. In 1967, he began to pursue his undergraduate’s degree at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1980, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts’ degree from SUNY-Potsdam. He continued to live in New York City for 20 years until finally coming to reside in the South Side of Milwaukee.

Recent Exhibitions:

2009 - 8 Counties, Kohler Art Center, Juried show, Sheboygan WI
2009 - Forward!  Juried show, Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee WI
2009 - Group Show, Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee WI
2009 - Wisconsin Artists Biennial 2009, Juried, Rahr-West Museum, Manitowoc WI
2010 - Art From the Heartland, Juried, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis IN
2010 - Jim Zwadlo & Philip Krejcarek, Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee WI
2010 - Real People 2010, Juried, Woodstock IL
2010 - Vertigo In Flatland, Solo show, Wisconsin Union Galleries, Madison WI
2010 - Annual Salon, Walkers Point Art Center, Milwaukee WI
2010 - Winter Juried Exhibition, Anderson Arts Center, Kenosha WI
2011 - Gallery 2622, solo show, Wauwatosa WI
2011 - Wisconsin Artists Biennial 2011, Juried, Anderson Arts Center, Kenosha WI
2011 - Suitcase IV, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee WI
2011 -  Group Show, Hennes Art Company, Minneapolis MN
2011 - Summer Group Show, Jules Place, Boston MA
2011 - Inaugural Show, Beals & Abbate Fine Art, Santa Fe NM
2011 - Summer Show, M A Doran Gallery, Tulsa OK
2012 - Solo Show, Beals & Abbate Fine Art, Santa Fe NM
2012 - MARN Salon, Milwaukee WI


Recent Commissions:
American Bankers Association, Washington DC

National Football League, Baltimore MD

Central Grocers, Joliet IL

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston MA

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison WI

National Association of Letter Carriers, Baltimore MD

Stone & Youngberg, New York NY

Stone & Youngberg, Chicago IL

Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbroke IL

American Career College, Anaheim CA

Marymount University, Baltimore MD



Selected collections: Over 150 private and public collections including:


University of Wisconsin, Madison

UW-Stevens Point and UW-Platteville

SUNY, Potsdam NY

SUNY, Canton NY

The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield CT

General Instrument Corp., New York NY

Prudential Life Insurance Co., Parsippany NJ

Chemical Bank, New York NY

NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, NYC

Kidder Peabody, New York NY

White Plains Hospital, White Plains NY

Merck & Co., West Point PA

The St. Paul Companies, St. Paul MN


Meridian Bank, NJ

Hale & Dorr, Boston, and Washington DC

Suburban Cablevision, NJ

ARA Corp., Philadelphia PA

Barton Protective Services, Atlanta GA

Seabury & Smith, New York NY

Core States Bank, Philadelphia PA


Goltz Associates, Bloomington MN

Briggs and Morgan, Minneapolis MN

Dollar Bill's, Chicago IL

Houston Effler, Boston MA

Total System Services, Columbus GA

MFS Investment Mgmt,,Boston MA

Baird & Co., Milwaukee WI

Swett and Crawford Group, Irvine CA

LaPlaya Beach Resort, Naples FL

State Street Research, Boston MA


Sears Merchandise Group, Chicago IL

Piper Jaffray, Minneapolis MN

G E Capital Mortgage, Cherry Hill NJ

My subject is people represented realistically in an abstract urban space, as seen from an imaginary aerial point of view. I title the paintings “Pedestrians” to make it clear that the point of view is the point of the painting; the people are not doing anything especially interesting, just walking in the street.

I lived for many years in New York City, working in office buildings, thinking about how to orient myself. From the aerial point of view, to me, the Manhattan landscape became, literally, a map of itself. The urban space flattened visually into a kind of “found” painting. Being a native Midwesterner, I translated my sense of the flatness of the Midwestern landscape into a solution to how to paint the verticality of the urban landscape.

I use photographs as a way to reconstruct images from the real world and transfer them to the real painting. For me, photography functions as a catalyst, as in a chemical reaction: photographs are instrumental to making the painting, but they do not appear in the completed painting.

I refer to Impressionist cityscapes, Bauhaus photography, New York School abstraction, and Minimalism as some important influences

For me, the urban pedestrian symbolizes a complex social milieu. I paint each figure as a detailed individual portrait, familiar yet anonymous. I construct the crowd from thousands of photographs, arranged randomly to suggest patterns, and in patterns that suggest randomness.

Imagery from the aerial point of view is instantly recognizable even though we rarely directly experience it. In contrast with traditional perspective, with its closer-is-bigger implied hierarchy, from above each figure is equal in scale and in space, as in a democratic vision, but with the added ambiguity between the arrogance of “looking down” versus “looking at.” The aerial view makes it possible to imply the entire infrastructure of the city: cars, buildings, streets, etc., without actually depicting any of those things.

The aerial view compresses space. The spatial flattening of the images intensifies the surface of the painting, and enhances the colors in a unique way. The compressed space is a map, a kind of living map, which shows a way of seeing, and a way of being in the world.



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