“This is uncomfortable art for uncomfortable times,” says Sasha Pyle, the curator of City of Mud’s summer show ‘Outrage.’ “Artists have not just a right but also a responsibility to express the full range of their human experience through their artworks, not just the pretty or cheerful side of life.”
Close to two dozen artists express their fury about national and international political events, environmental destruction, violence against women, child abuse, border conflict and homelessness through a wide variety of media in “Outrage,” which opens on June 15.
Gallery partner Jamie Chase, who is a painter and illustrator, focuses his attention on some of life’s horrific experiences in his series “Atrocities.” Scenes of conflict and destruction are painted with acrylics on irregular shapes of torn cardboard.
“The Iraq war inspired one piece of a corpse on the ground, and images out of Syria inspired another piece,” explains Chase, who is known for his paintings with meditative and transcendental themes. “The experience of creating these paintings was cathartic but it also made me feel even more pain.”
Fashion designer Magita Story had been looking for a venue in which to show her ball gown about the Bill of Rights and the Miranda rights when she heard about plans for the show. Cut-up t-shirts containing the words from these documents have been combined with silk chiffon and embroidery to create a full length gown that she lovingly calls “t-shirt couture” and hopes will eventually be worn in a public place by a celebrity.
“The red cross stitching symbolizes the blood shed in order to get the Bill of Rights,” she says. “I also embroidered bullet holes into the gown.”
Photos by Issa Nyaphaga, a Cameroonian activist who has lived in Santa Fe for several years, are also in the show. Nyaphaga has been imprisoned and tortured for resisting the repressive regime in his country. He built a radio station in the jungle so villagers could have access to programming not created by the government.
“To my knowledge, no gallery in Santa Fe has ever mounted a show like this,” says Pyle. “We are providing an immersive experience quite different from the roomful of non-threatening art you typically see in galleries. This show fulfills our gallery’s mission to a T.”