Mel Kishner received a BS degree in Art Education in 1938 from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He taught art in Milwaukee schools, but is perhaps best known for his prolific work as the Milwaukee Journal / Sentinel art director.
Kishner exhibited widely throughout the United States, being best known for his watercolors. He also worked in other media, including oil, acrylic and casein. His work began in the 1930s with a fairly traditional approach to watercolor. However, throughout the following forty years he allowed his work to reflect new influences, although the source of subject matter remained rooted in the tradition of representational expression. Working from the environment that he knew best, he continued to stylize his beloved Wisconsin landscapes even after retiring to the southwestern United States.
In the mid-1970s, Kishner revealed a new style, embracing surrealism through meticulously wrought hard-edged compositions. He was a member of The Walrus Club (executive board, 1958-59); Milwaukee Press Club; Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors (President, 1951-5); Illustrators and Designers of Milwaukee (vice-president, executive board, 1956-57); and Wisconsin Watercolor Society.
Selected Group Exhibitions
1946 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin Art
Annual Watercolor Show, Jackson, Michigan
1947 American Drawing Annual Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, New York
1950 Milwaukee Art Institute, Solo Exhibition
1954 Milwaukee Art Institute, 40th Annual Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Exhibition of Wisconsin Art
1956 Paine Art Center and Arboretum, 42nd Annual Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Exhibition of Wisconsin Art,
Milwaukee Art Institute
1957 Washington, D.C. 43rd Annual Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and Gravers Society of Arts Club
1961 Rahr Civic Center, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
1964 Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1966 Paintings and Graphics
1966 Arts Unlimited, Milwaukee
1973 Oehlschlaeger Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1975 Stonehouse Gallery, Cedarburg, WisconsinPaint'n Place Gallery, Stonefield Village, Wisconsin
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
1977 Ozaukee Art Center Retrospective Exhibition, Cedarburg, Wisconsin
1978 Brewery Works - Fine Arts Salon, Cedarburg, Wisconsin
n.d. City of Milwaukee Commission
Minor S. Jamieson - First Place Award for Landscape Painting - 43rd Annual Exhibition of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society Arts Club, Washington, D.C.
Milwaukee Art Center - Milwaukee, West Bend Art Museum - West Bend, Lawrence University - Appleton, Oshkosh Museum - Oshkosh, Milwaukee Public Schools