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'Artists Take a Stand' examines political climate in show at Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania

by on March 22, 2017 2:46 PM

LEMONT — Historically, artists have used their medium to portray their reactions to the political climate.

For one weekend only, Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, a handful of area artists will present "Artists Take a Stand," an event involving visual art, music and poetry readings at the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, 818 Pike St. in Lemont.

Event organizer Mary Lee Kerr said that she got the idea after speaking with artists following the November 2016 election.

"An exhibit seemed like the right forum for expressing their views," she said.

This exhibit will feature paper sculptor Mary Sullivan, photographer Chuck Fong and painters Karen Deutsch and Mary McGuire. Each individual has found a way to process their experiences by creating the pieces they'll share with the community.

Deutsch will present a painting done by a group of people gathered at her studio.

"We had an open studio with a big canvas," she said, "and people contributed to create a powerful image. It allowed people to contribute and to vent in a creative and positive way."

The painting features splashy imagery and shocking colors, along with symbolism indicating the various painters' impressions of the situation. It also stresses a variety of styles that the dozen or so people Deutsch hosted brought to it.

The Art Alliance frequently features variety in its offerings. And, this show continues that tradition by including a medley of styles and mediums.

Sullivan uses paper created from natural and manufactured materials, resulting in 3-D statements. She will have two pieces in the exhibit. One of them consists of paper-cast heads illustrated with maps. “As I Was Walking That Ribbon of Highway” expresses the importance of diverse life experiences.

"It captures journeys across landscapes where boundaries blur and peoples' lives merge, as it has always done in the past," Sullivan said.

McGuire describes the Art Alliance as "a hub that generates artistic activity for the region."

She will show a poster she calls “Art is Power,” an arresting black-and-white piece depicting, among other images, a cat with the word “resist” on its chest.

"Many artists — children through adults — did thrive, are thriving and will thrive in this atmosphere," McGuire said. "Long live the arts. Resist limits on creativity and literacy."

Another artist resisting creative limits, Chuck Fong, will present an envelope-pushing piece in 3-D. He said he uses "cheaply acquired parts whose theme questions the morality of an elected official having multiple wives, one of which may have been a woman of dubious virtue."

The provocative work will doubtless result in discussion and speculation as to its subject. Fong welcomes any discomfort it might cause.

"The many creations present will shock, stimulate and surprise the viewer," he said. "After all, why would there be art?"

If you go

What: "Artists Take a Stand" exhibit 

When: Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26; opening reception, 7 to 9 p.m., March 24; poetry, performance and music, noon to 5 p.m., March 26

Where: Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, 818 Pike St., Lemont



Ann is an Arts and Entertainment correspondent for the Gazette.
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