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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Online Exhibition: Politically Inspired Art

Welcome to the blog’s first curated online exhibition! The call for entries was for work that had been inspired by recent politics. I’ve selected 12 from the many responses I received. They represent a variety of media and include work that was meant to be overtly political, work that was interpreted by viewers to be political whether or not that was the artist’s intent, and work that was meant to be therapeutic in these chaotic times. The works express passion, fear, humor, confusion, serenity and anger.

I have seen none of this work in person, which brings me to another question I would like to get your feedback on. Since we are living more and more in a digital world, how does that affect the work you make and/or how you view art work? Email me at janechafinsblog@gmail.com.

Here’s the exhibition. Enjoy!

Dwora Fried

Dwora Fried, Resist, 2017, mixed media assemblage, 15" x 14.5" x 5"

Beatriz E Ledesma

Beatriz E Ledesma, Immigrant Dreams, 2016, oil on canvas, 23" x 28"

For the past year or two I began reflecting on the amount of relocated people from around the world -mostly war refugees or economic refugees and questioning the impact of relocation on the person's emotional and spiritual life- the dreams they had and need to leave behind (like pieces of paper flying in the air); the memories, dreams and hopes they bring into the host country (like spiritual luggage floating in the waters of the unconscious emotional life), and the constant push and pull of social & cultural dissonances that feels like walking on bard wire or just standings still on it to listen to the sound of a freedom that appears to be such but it is not. -- Beatriz Ledesma

Joan Weinzettle

Joan Weinzettle, Who Gets to be Angry?, 2017, NYTimes Opinion page, thread, 31" x 22"

I have been sewing and washing paper for a while now but usually not newsprint. Not until this election took away any sense that I had about knowing where the floor was. What is true anymore? I don't know where the horizon line is. It feels like we have lost something vitally important that I took for granted. For right now, I am sewing and washing the news--as if it were that easy--to wash it all away. -- Joan Weinzettle

Marilyn Cvitanic

Marilyn Cvitanic, Over Geometric Farms, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 22"

“Over Geometric Farms” is a reference from Joni Mitchell’s song Amelia and the album Hejira which I was listening to while painting. I posted the piece on Facebook and a friend commented "I name this The Red White and Blue in Pieces or Flag of the Disunited States." That works for me! It is a subconsciously (or inadvertently?) political painting. -- Marilyn Cvitanic

Mardi Alexis

Mardi Alexis, Expressions of Change, 2016, acrylic, mixed media and collage on canvas, 48" x 48" x 2"

I created this painting intuitively with passion inspired by the recent U.S. election and the acrimony, fear and hatred that characterized the presidential campaign.  Subtle images of women and symbolism that suggests strangulation of rights and freedom are depicted. An image of Barack Obama's birth certificate is incorporated into the composition. Given the angst and heated demonstrations that continue in the wake of the election, the color story is purposely calm to draw in the viewer. -- Mardi Alexis

Shelley Powsner

Shelley Powsner, The Invitation, 2016, oil on canvas, 52" x 64"

Andrew K. Currey

Andrew K. Currey, Trump (or, 23 depictions of Julius Caesar), 2016, pencil on paper over gold, 22" x 30"

In Shakespeare’s story, Roman politicians fear the people's desire for Caesar to become Emperor and do away with the Republic – resulting in a treasonous conspiracy of politicians stabbing him 23 times. As I watched the 2016 election play out, I realized the eerie similarities between Trump and Julius Caesar. This piece is meant to showcase that anachronistic, political parallel. And as a result, the process of creating this piece became filled with subtle political ironies. Like, cutting out the emoticons over Caesar's face, I found myself literally stabbing Caesar over and over with my exacto knife on my studio floor. -- Andrew K. Currey

Anita Wong

Anita Wong, Trump, 2016, crumpled paper, variable dimensions

These paper sculptures are inspired by Pablo Picasso's period of distorted depictions. Using paper like clay, the artist delicately crumbles paper to form a desired 3D shape. By using the portrait of the famous, these paper sculptures silently questions our "ways of seeing". It requires us to view the same familiar faces in a whole new way. Are we seeing the whole picture or are we seeing what the artist want us to see? -- Anita Wong

Cory Sewelson

Cory Sewelson, Giant Liberty Swing, 2016, acrylic, oil on panel, 8" x 10"

I had been working on a separate series called Fun House.  In it I had been exploring what happens when architectural boundaries are dropped and our usually separate uses and activities get mashed up. In this case, residential homes and amusement parks and how they all relate to nature.

A trip to Washington D.C. right before the election prompted me to consider combining amusement park imagery with national monument icons.  That’s the high and low of it. Our revered and sacred history and institutions insulted and debased. This piece, “Giant Liberty Swing,” is the first of the series - Monumental Works. -- Corey Sewelson

Midge Lynn

Midge Lynn, Under the Influence, 2016, oil and graphite on panel, 11" x 14"

This was a response to all the lies coming from the Republicans and Trump and the influence they had on voters. The big lie! -- Midge Lynn

Karen Fitzgerald

Karen Fitzgerald, Wind Visits the Aetherium, 2016, oil with gilded aluminum on patterned, prepared paper, 34" x 23"

I do not consider myself to be very political, but that has all changed dramatically over the past few months. The Aetherium is a spiritual realm. It surrounds and supports us.  We can visit it in meditative practice.  Wind visits it at will.  In this troubled political time, it is essential that I retain a strong tie to work that does not inhabit the political realm per-se.  This work does not insist on anything.  It simply is what it is. -- Karen Fitzgerald

Mary Sherwood Brock

Mary Sherwood Brock, Invisible Cities, 2016-17, mixed printmaking media on paper, 8" x 8" each of 6

These are images of work for an artist book titled “Invisible Cities”, inspired by the book of that name by Italo Calvino. The book is a poetic interpretation of the travels of Marco Polo and includes a structure of prose and poetry to describe his travels through 55 cities, each named after a woman. I am working on 55 images of these imagined women/cities to represent similar concepts as the book does in that there are allusions to memory, desire and creativity as powerful forces. There are references to female jugglers that I have used in the past to represent MtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) because of  the strong connection of female inheritance to building civilizations, perhaps even in creating it. 

Since the last election, I am concerned with images that define women as strong figures and creators of the world. -- Mary Sherwood Brock


  1. Love seeing this online but would also like seeing them in person. I miss texture, scale, lighting etc. with a digital only presentation.

  2. I love to have my work among wonderful and powerful artworks shown in this exhibit. It certainly helps to cope with the angst and confusion that surround us.

  3. The blog is terrific. Congrats on this new direction and your ongoing support of artists.

  4. Amazing artwork! Thank you for this call for art. I'm looking forward to Part 2.