VISUAL POLITICS: ART AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE National Exhibition Illuminates Local and Global Issues.
By Maureen Davidson
(See images on facebook page.)
This Saturday, October 27, an exhibition timed for the election season opens at the Santa Cruz Art League featuring artists from all over the nation, many with significant reputations, who have been inspired to comment on political and social issues.
The opening reception at the Art League, 526 Broadway in Santa Cruz, is November 3 from 3-5 pm with many of the artists in attendance.
A vibrant 93-year old art center with a history of issues-related exhibitions, the extensive Santa Cruz Art League gallery space has been recreated to encourage a thoughtful wander. Works speak out in two- and three-dimensions in media ranging from paint on canvas to bullets on boxes. The mood runs from tongue-in-cheek to dagger-in-heart, but all works are thoughtful. Issues from war to health care, from bombing to fracking in Aromas, eternal issues of racism, classism and corporate greed versus hunger and homelessness, everything is at play. No candidate is exalted or excoriated, but policies are; there’s even an interactive opportunity to reconstruct Congress.
Featured are works by Mark Bryant, the SLO artist whose realistic oil paintings envision our world…only more so…in such paintings as the giant, luminous Republic of Suicide which looks over the shoulder of Lincoln on the Lincoln Memorial onto a militarized National Mall. At the opposite end of the gallery, an impossibly large and expressive woodblock Apocalypse by Kristin Casaletto of Mississippi, summons the history of the South and its strange fruit hanging from the wind-whipped trees. From Maine, Dan Mills, internationally exhibited artist and director of the Bates College Art Museum, offers three pieces from his US Future State Atlas series, in which he imagines such future states as, say, USArtica in small pretty cartographic works. Local issues are wrangled eloquently by area artists including the poignant At the End of the Day by Russell Brutsche, sinking
Maureen Davidson curated the show. She is an art essayist, commentator and curator.