|Jeff Abbott's "Trump/Hillary" heads|
The Alliance for the Arts has a walk and talk for each new exhibit which is often led by the judge for the show. Editorial cartoonist Doug McGregor was the juror for the "Politikos" exhibit on display through Nov. 5. And while McGregor shared what drew him to some pieces, he took advantage of having many of the artists on hand to explain their intent.
Aquillera explained that the 11 slats in his work represent the 11 Confederate states.The flag-like fence isn't of the white picket variety. It's divided into red and white to show the way that walls separate people in "our neighborhoods, hearts and heads." The missing blue represents a lack of freedom. And what looks at first glance as stars--or perhaps missiles--are in fact little Ku Klux Klansmen.
|Detail of Rose Young's work|
Fiber artist Roseline Young continued the theme of divisiveness in her "Building a Democratic Bridge not a Wall of Lies and Pink Promises." (She said the initial title was longer.) This detail from her quilt shows a tiny overwhelmed Young on a bridge looking out onto a sea of multi-colored panels. The panels do not represent the Rainbow Coalition but the dissonant voices heard during the campaigns. Rose echoed the sentiment of everyone in the room when she said she's more than ready for this election to be over.
|Detail from Turner's "Assault on Orlando"|
|Anderson's "Humpty Trumpty"|
I of course loved Anderson's "Humpty Trumpty." Accompanying this piece was a work reminiscent of the samplers of yore that read "Humpty Trumpty wanted a Wall and he wanted our neighbors to pay for it all. He thinks we're dumb asses 'cause we pay our taxes. His opinion of women is Neanderthal. Will November bring his curtain call?" Turner provided a balanced view with other panels featuring parodies of Obama and Hillary and Bill, respectively. The related wall card notes that rhymes such as these that could be shared verbally were prevalent in repressive regimes in which dissent and criticism were cause for punishment.
The main gallery features an exhibit entitled "Swing State" that runs through Nov. 25. If you have any question about which way Sarasota artists are leaning in this election, look no further.
While there were a few unflattering portrayals of Hillary, there were lots of anti-Trump works to enjoy. My favorite was Mike Hodges' "Trumpery." And while the definition of "trumpery" could hardly be more apt, what I like about the work is the way Trump's motto has been turned on its head. I'm not telling you anything new when I say that his campaign has revealed the dark side of America. The fact that there are so many people who are on board with his bigotry and misogyny and hatred and fear (and likely share these world views) alarms and saddens me. It's an America I don't recognize.
Thanks to these local art centers for providing artists the chance to show the role of art in the political process.