Saturday, June 27, 2009

It is amazing how an artist can portray one image into millions. In this instance, Adam Helms has taken the image of a jihad soldier and has used shadow to transform the image of a soldier into something more mysterious, haunting and evil. The portrait reveals an almost surreal depiction of a soldier. We, the audience, are naturally pushed to assume that the image shows evil which is exactly why art is so powerful. It is interesting how Helms has positioned the shadow, it looks as if the soldier is smiling in a very sinister manner. Adam Helms

Paper Works Gallery
Curated by Cydney Payton

Adam Helms draws attention to the continuum between past and present states of violence, occupation and injustice. Helms uses composite images sourced through the internet and unearthed in library archives to suggest a frontier that is both familiar and distant. His hand is revealed in the work through drawings, thus making personal the interior story of each image. The exhibition of new works on paper and a large- scale sculpture at MCA DENVER – his first solo museum installation portrays radical political groups and extremist subcultures throughout history.

Above: Adam Helms, Shadow (Portrait of a jihadi), 2008, Double sided silkscreen on vellum, 40 x 26 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Sister Gallery, Los Angeles

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I did not completely understand this painting the first time I saw it. It seemed too obscure and scattered and disturbing initially, but I guess that is exactly how Picasso wanted the people to see it. The overall impact of the piece creates a disturbed reality of pain and agony. This impact is formed by figures such as the mother weeping over her dead baby and the dead bodies on the floor and the flames that dominate the painting. Notice how the colors are black, gray and white which I believe symbolize the darkness and evil of war. It is not meant to be pretty and successfully conveys the message that war is ugly, brutal and horrifying. This is one of the most famous artworks that express the atrocities of war and the need for peace, and do so very effectively.

Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso, depicting the bombing of Guernica, Spain, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Pablo Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) Paris International Exposition in the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an
anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish civil war to the world's attention.

Cool video