John Ross, "Child Soldiers"

John Ross, "Child Soldiers"

Review: Cold, Dark, Unsecurity at Stutz Art Gallery 

***1/2

Through Feb. 27 at the Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery. Eleven Stutz member artists created violence-themed work in multiple media — from painting to video to installations — for this new exhibition, created in partnership with the faith-based Ten Point Coalition. Violence in society, violence against women, violence in the media.

John Ross's oil on canvas painting "Child Soldiers" is certainly a standout, evocative of Leon Golub's work in tone if not in style. It depicts three young white children carrying automatic weapons against a flat Midwestern skyline.

In "In the End" C.S. Stanley uses spray paint to depict on canvas, in grayscale, what appears to be an angel pleading with five policemen in riot gear in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument downtown. This is what martial law might look like, the artist seems to be saying, back home in Indiana.

Julie Perigo's nightmarishly colorful "Aftermaths and Altered Paths" depicts a woman trying to attach her head back onto her own cadaver, apparently after a life-ending assault.

click to enlarge Tom Potter, “Born into Confinement"
  • Tom Potter, “Born into Confinement"

Joe Leavell's video installation "Inundation" didn't really tell or show me anything I didn't already know about our violence-saturated media, but at least it created something of a soundtrack for the exhibition.

Some of the work here spoke to me in ways that made me scratch my head. I wondered, for example, if Tom Potter’s photograph “Born into Confinement,” depicting a nude woman enclosed in nylon, was as much about eroticism as it was social commentary.

Back when Andy Chen was curating the Stutz Art Gallery, there were competitive calls for entry — for artists both in and outside the Stutz. Such juried shows were more compelling that what we've seen recently in the space.

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