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AUGUST 31–OCTOBER 28, 2007

Minneapolis, July 2, 2007—Four Minnesota artists explore the representation of war in two new exhibitions presented by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Opening August 31, “War Mediated” and “I Will Follow You into the Dark” features new and recent work by Camille Gage, Megan Rye, Justin Newhall, and Megan Vossler. By transforming existing media images or documenting historical re-enactments, these artists ask us to reconsider the images of war we encounter each day through print, online, and broadcast media. The speed with which we receive war images can de-sensitize us and, for many, create a psychological distance from the subject. Here, in these two exhibitions, artists turn visual images into meditations on war and prompt us to examine our relationship to it.

Exhibition-related events include an opening reception on Thursday, August 30, at 7 p.m.; an artist talk with all four artists on Thursday, September 6, at 7 p.m.; and a critics’ trialogue on Thursday, September 27, at 7 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

The first exhibition, “War Mediated,” features work by three artists looking at correlations among patriotism, fear, and the filters through which war images are delivered to us.

· Drawing inspiration from Goya’s Disasters of War series and the U.S. Army Web site, Megan Vossler’s graphite drawings focus on the aftermath of war—the period of displacement when refugees flee their homelands. Vossler’s nameless figures file through ambiguous geographies, leaving the viewer to contemplate the universality of these scenes. Vossler is a 2007 recipient of the McKnight Artist Fellowship and a 2005 winner of the Jerome Foundation fellowship.
· Camille Gage pays homage to fallen soldiers in “War Redacted,” a series of U.S. government photographs upon which she has painted. Obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the images are of military casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan arriving at Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base in flag-covered caskets. Gage blacks out areas of the photos, mirroring censoring techniques used by the government before releasing sensitive documents. Gage’s awards include the FORECAST Public Artworks grant and the Intermedia Arts grant.
· Justin Newhall’s large, color photographs examine America’s need to shape and connect to the past. His latest series, “Axis and Allies,” explores the culture and practice of World War II battle re-enactments. Newhall currently teaches photography at the University of Minnesota and the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul. His awards include fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Images from his project Historical Marker: Photographs Along the Lewis and Clark Trail were recently published by Aperture, in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

The second exhibition, “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” features work by Megan Rye. Offering a backseat view of the Iraq war, Rye’s large-scale paintings trace her brother’s experience as a U.S. Marine in Iraq, where he supervised the regional detention facility in Fallujah and transported Iraqi detainees within the Sunni Triangle. Rye’s source materials are drawn primarily from more than 2,000 photographs her brother took during his tour of duty. She uses these photos to create paintings that mix abstraction and realism, revealing a personal viewpoint of the daily life of a soldier at war. Many of the paintings depict routine military operations, but the first-person perspective and desert lighting merge beauty with the ominous threat of the unknown. Megan Rye is a 2005 recipient of the Jerome Foundation fellowship and a two-time winner of the Minnesota State Arts Board’s artist initiative grant.

MAEP is made possible by a generous grant from the Jerome Foundation.

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