While home for Thanksgiving break, I visited the Pieces and Parts exhibit at the Falls Church Arts Gallery. This show highlights assemblage/media media multi-part works. The artists incorporated various mediums into their work. Two pieces in particular stood out to me. The first piece, titled “A New Day,” originated as a commentary on the school shooting in Newtown. However, after starting the artistic process, the creator realized the subject matter was too upsetting. In the excerpt next to her piece, the artist notes that “a direct view of the tragedy could never do it justice.” As such, the artist painted over what she had and started over. She recognized that following her intuition brought her to “a more optimistic place.” In conclusion, she titled her piece “A New Day” as that is what she wishes for the children who survived, the school’s staff, and the families of those affected. I think that the artist’s commentary on tragedy directly relates to our discussions in the class throughout the semester. Like the works we’ve read, works of culture shed light on political/social issues in a manner that allows readers to more easily process them; a direct, harsh depiction might shy readers/viewers/spectators away from thinking about such difficult yet important issues.
The second piece that really caught my eye, titled “Walls,” illustrates the artist’s response to current governmental policies. The artist utilized clippings from magazines as her medium for the paper collage. Collectively, the work showcases “Pieces and Parts” of individual’s lives, those who face the repercussions of those policies. The piece highlights the diversity within the United States, but also conveys the affect of “Walls.” In her artist statement, Vicky Dorn-Fontana notes that “we need to remain a safe haven for all who seek freedom from war, oppression and are in search of a better life.” While this particular statement directly speaks to the United States, I think it has relevance globally and relates to our discussions throughout the course of the semester.