Archive for December, 2007

ART AND WAR

Posted by erin on December 9th, 2007

How is War Seen by Women, Soldiers, Artists?
by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Just when I began to wonder if the Viet Nam War had exhausted all our energy for antiwar art, a passionate body of art appears to address the topic in both old and new ways. Perhaps, without the sense of urgency that sprang from the draft in the Viet Nam era, there has been a delayed reaction. Or maybe the artists were making the art all along, but it took longer to bring the artists work to the fore in the form of exhibitions. As an artist who greatly appreciates the power of art to point at our actions when they demand scrutiny, this series of shows is so welcome.

It must be so difficult for artists in a war zone to make art when they are surrounded by violence, yet some of the art indeed comes from such contexts. And, as old as the subject may be for artists in general, exhibitions at several institutions in the South Bay reveal that artists have not lost their commitment to decrying the horrors of war, nor has the war in Iraq failed to capture their attention. Some of the art also asks us to step back from the politically correct attitudes of the liberal art community and simply explore the images on the formal level, or to identify with the soldiers’ experience.

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Freedom’s Price employs a feminine camouflage pattern on the outside, but the old standard – “Home, Sweet Home” – is still secretly guarded within.

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California to Bangkok and Back

Posted by erin on December 5th, 2007

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CULTURAL EXCHANGE?

LINKED AND OVERLAPPING EXHIBITIONS AT THE NATALIE AND JAMES THOMPSON GALLERY AND AT WORKS, SAN JOSE

by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Sittichai Prachayaratikun and Tongchai Srisukprasert have been given ridiculously short visas in the USA. With the help of a cadre of students, faculty and technical assistants, they are working against time to produce a complex installation in the Natalie and James Thompson Gallery at San Jose State University. Their two works merge in the space – Sittichai’s work uses two vertical walls that connect at a corner and Thongchai is creating a horizontal cross that connects to each of the four walls slightly above the mid-point. Both works refer to death in some way. The entire installation is overwhelmingling red, as is the ceiling of the Buddhist Temple, and which forthe Thais is the color of death. The concepts are, for both artists, responsive to concerns for “world environment”, yet iconographically very personal, and an extension of previous work done in Thailand and elsewhere.

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Sittichai and Tony May confer during installation activity.

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