War & Empire at the Meridian Gallery

Coming this September, 2008, San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery will present War and Empire, a group exhibition that has as its theme the state of democracy in the U.S. – as well as the continuing military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. I am delighted that my own art has been included in the exhibit, since being able to show with a notable collection of artists that I fervently admire is no small thing. For the next few weeks I will abstain from posting to this web log, giving me the time to write an article on the War & Empire show for Foreign Policy in Focus.

Drawing by Mark Vallen

[ Not Our Children, Not Their Children – Mark Vallen. Pencil on paper. 2003. To be displayed at the upcoming War & Empire exhibit at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery. ]

Famed Columbian artist Fernando Botero will have two paintings from his powerful Abu Ghraib series included in the War & Empire exhibit. On loan from the American University Museum in Washington, D.C., the paintings will most assuredly be a focal point of the exhibit; but I am equally excited over a number of the other artists included in the show – Gee Vaucher, Sandow Birk, and Patrick Oliphant to name but a few.

Painting by Fernando Botero

[ Abu Ghraib #72 – Fernando Botero. Oil on canvas. 2007. To be displayed at the upcoming War & Empire exhibit at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery. ]

Painter Guy Colwell will also be a participating artist. When Abuse, his canvas depicting the torture of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. jailers was displayed at San Francisco’s Capobianco Gallery in May, 2004, rightist thugs physically assaulted gallery owner Lori Haigh, and through a campaign of unrelenting threat and harassment forced her to permanently close her gallery. Colwell essentially went underground in order to avoid harm. Triumphantly, Colwell’s controversial painting will be shown at the Meridian Gallery exhibit along with This Is Not Torture, the artist’s latest drawing on the subject of waterboarding.

Drawing by Guy Colwell

[ This Is Not Torture – Guy Colwell. Pencil on paper. 2008. To be displayed at the upcoming War & Empire exhibit at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery. ]

War & Empire is part of the Art of Democracy project first conceptualized around two years ago by San Francisco printmaker and painter Art Hazelwood, and Stephen Fredericks of the National Arts Club of New York. Art of Democracy gelled into a nationwide coalition of artists and venues who will be mounting art shows across the country in the run-up period just prior to the 2008 election. The Meridian Gallery exhibit opens on September 4, 2008, and runs until the evening of the U.S. presidential election – November 4, 2008.

The full listing of the artists whose works will appear in the group exhibit are as follows: Scott Anderson, David Avery, Will Barnet, Jesus Barraza, Sandow Birk, Fernando Botero, Mark Bryan, Enrique Chagoya, SF Print Collective, Guy Colwell, Francisco Dominguez, Eric Drooker, Ala Ebtekar, Kevin Evans, Bella Feldman, Stephen Fredericks, Juan Fuentes, J. C. Garrett, Art Hazelwood, Frances Jetter, David Jones, Hung Liu, Roberta Loach, Mary V Marsh, Fernando Marti, Doug Minkler, Claude Moller, Malaquias Montoya, Patrick Oliphant, Ariel Parkinson, Francesca Pastine, Patrick Piazza, Phyllis Plattner, Gary-Paul Prince, Rigo, Favianna Rodriguez, Ben Sakoguchi, Jos Sances, Mark Vallen, Gee Vaucher, Mary Hull Webster, Howard Whitehouse, William Wiley, Bruce Yurgil.

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