Filling an 8,000 square foot space is no easy task, but when the subject matter is the insane headlines of the day and the curator is art woman about town Elle Schorr, it’s another day at the office.
During a preview of the show at The Projects Contemporary Art Space in FATVillage Arts District in Ft. Lauderdale, Schorr calmly walks about the frenzy as artists, assistants, carpenters and her husband Jerry scurry about the large raw space installing huge works.
“I have been going to shows and hosting artists at the Art Salons at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach for years now so I know the artists and their work,” she says, “so gathering together enough large pieces to fill this space wasn’t difficult. The subject matter is current news – and not good news – so I chose work that makes strong statements. I didn’t want it to all be about the current President, I wanted a variety of subjects to be explored.”
The “Ripped From The Headlines” art show —now through June 29— will feature 19 South Florida artists working from deeply personal points of view.
“Our goal is to expand awareness and inform an ongoing dialogue as the news continues to evolve,” she says, pointing out the installation in the middle of the space as artist Jeanne Jaffe tweaks the piece called “Aftermath”.
Jaffe explains “This is about things that are burnt down into ashes and how that loss affects each of us every day.”
A scorched figure stands beneath letters that hang from the ceiling forming words that rise like smoke signals. The arms of the figure morph into branches that stretch skeleton like down to the ground. Coming days after the huge fire at Notre Dame, this timely meditation also reminds that from ashes comes rebirth.
Painter Mark Cohen is also in the exhibit with a strong large piece addressing gun violence and mass shootings called “Las Vegas” that shows the frenzied aftermath of the mass shooting at a concert there a few years ago. Country music fans flee for their lives from a place that is supposed to be a joyful sanctuary instead of a shooting gallery. Cohen works from photos then meshes elements and figures together to pack out a scene. Hats and cups lie on the ground with people that have been shot, the blazing lights of the stage whirling above them.
Rolando Chang Barrero’s “School Supplies for a New Generation” makes another stark, strong statement as he lays a series of white printed tags and bags that may look like school supplies but are actually body bags. “School Supplies For the Next Generation” is meant to disturb the audience. “It should anger you and maybe shame you into action,” says Barrero. “These are not times that I am concerned about you, nor your response to my work! What you see is my response to the inaction of our country and the possibility of normalizing events that should not have occurred, but did, and may very well happen again.”
TD Gillispie’s “War Stories” relays stories about toy guns and the loss of innocence, Barbara Ziev’s assemblage deals with feelings of despair, racism, discrimination and hatred of all kinds.
Mary Catello, whose work is a series of natural sculptures made from plants and trees found in Southern Florida, presents life sized sculptures of women and girls stops viewers in their tracks as they look so real from behind. From the front they are seated and gagged, their story told in a printed plaque at their feet.
‘Black Lives Matter’ is told in Rosa Naday Garmendia’s participatory photographic “Rituals of Commemoration” project. Rosa Naday is a very engaged, multidisciplinary artist, rooting in social issues, particularly the intersectionality of her identity as a woman, immigrant, and industrial worker.
The “Me Too Movement” and Female Empowerment are explored in Gina Cunningham’s “Waves” video. Most of her recent projects have been themed around issues of immigration, water protection, feminism and climate change. She is an artist who is always trying to reach all kinds of people and this very creative video of gentle waves symbolizes 5 waves of feminism through a 100 years.
If you don’t know what to do with hand embroidery, vintage clothing, abandoned textiles and other discarded objects, you need to see the art Judy Polstra is bringing to the FAT Village’s “Ripped From The Headlines” show. Her embroideries on vintage textiles look quaint from far away, on closer inspection they horrify and amuse at the same time.
War, Migration, Immigration, Borders and Border Crossings are explored in Aurora Molina’s soft sculpture and embroidered fabric installation “Cacophony of Wails and Sobs.” Molina was born in La Havana, Cuba, in 1984. She emigrated to the United States at the age of sixteen, where she opted to pursue an education in art. Her piece attempts to draw attention to the ways in which self-absorption is encouraged by an unfettered individualism which unchallenged serves only to fracture family ties.
Lou Anne Colodny’s numbered series of drawings – “on the street where you live”, depict the erosion of man’s freedoms throughout the world. Appropriating images from the web and newspapers, Colodny collages, draws, and manipulates materials to create these images. They are a numbered series as the events depicted could happen anywhere; they are universal.
See some of the photos from the exhibit.
In addition to the art there are interactive participatory spaces.
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, who was slain in the Parkland School shooting on February 14, 2018, has founded “Change the Ref” along with his wife and Joaquin’s mother, Patricia Oliver. Manuel is painting a “Wall of Demand” to pass safe gun legislation at 7 pm.
Since Joaquin’s death, Oliver has been painting murals to honor his son across the country. Back in in August, he also created a 16-foot-wide canvas outside the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Virginia his son Joaquin’s 18th birthday.
‘Ripped From The Headlines’ is a provocative new art exhibit and you can check it out at Fort Lauderdale’s Arts District on 521 NW 1st Ave. The artworks are designed to provoke powerful emotions about hot-button issues.
“It’s a timely show with some of the best artists,” Schorr says. “I’m thrilled to have been chosen to curate this, it’s important and speaks to a lot of issues.”
“Ripped From the Headlines” will close on June 29 and admission is free. For more information and to learn about upcoming events during the exhibit, visit RippedFromtheHeadlines.Art.
Ripped From The Headlines Art Show at FAT Village