The Wisconsin tradition of tall tales came out of a practice of storytelling around campfires and in the bunk houses of logging camps. The exaggeration of these stories had to be tempered with elements of humor, adventure, and an understanding of the human condition in order for them to be of lasting interest and persistence in the oral culture. A native of Wisconsin, Fred Stonehouse is widely known for his depictions of a cast of invented characters which heartily nod to his local folkloric predecessors. His subjects, like those of the old tall tales, are hybrids created for their narrative value as fearsome creatures, bearing the amalgam of traits indicated by their combined parts and humorous in their imaginative absurdity. Stonehouse presents fragments of personalities, conflicts, fables, and surreal, Midwestern settings, always giving the sense that a fantastic story lies just beyond what can be gleaned from the image alone.




Fred Stonehouse was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, WI. He received his BFA from UW Milwaukee in 1982 and had his first solo show in Chicago in 1983 and began showing regularly in both New York and Los Angeles.  He has exhibited in Mexico, Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin and has been the recipient of an NEA Arts Midwest Grant as well as the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Individual Artist Grant.  Stonehouse is currently an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin.