MARK VALLEN – Meridian Gallery “War & Empire” exhibit

MARK VALLEN – Meridian Gallery "War & Empire" exhibit

From Mark Vallen’s weblog: #### "Art of Democracy: War & Empire" at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery

[ Abu Ghraib #72 – Fernando Botero. Oil on canvas. 2007. Part of the War & Empire exhibit at the Meridian Gallery. ] San Francisco, CA – The Meridian Gallery presents the Art of Democracy: War and Empire, a group exhibition timed to coincide with the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Opening on September 4th, 2008, and running until election night – November 4th, 2008, War and Empire will feature antiwar artworks by some 40 artists, including the following: Two of the highly controversial oil on canvas paintings from the Abu Ghraib torture series by Fernando Botero, will be on loan from the American University Museum in Washington, D.C. Guy Colwell’s painting, Abuse, depicting the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. Six large preparatory drawings by LA printmaker Sandow Birk from his Depravities of War (2007) woodcut series. Enrique Chagoya’s codex-like 7-foot long print, The Ghost of Liberty (2004), examining War and Empire within a broader historical context. Mark Vallen’s poignant black and white drawing, Not Our Children, Not Their Children (2003), depicting the suffering of innocent Iraqi civilians. Bella Feldman’s elegant and threatening sculptures from her ongoing War Toys series. A large linoleum cut of war-victimized families by San Francisco printmaker Juan Fuentes. A ten-foot tall-woodcut, Trouble For Uncle Sam in The Green Zone (2005) by Art Hazelwood. Three passionate, ironic, comic drawings by nationally syndicated cartoonist Patrick Oliphant, who will be signing his new book, Leadership: Cartoons and Sculpture from the Bush Years, on Friday September 12th at the Meridian gallery. According to Peter Selz, art historian and author of Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond, "Not since the 1930s, facing the Great Depression and the impending danger of a Fascist New World Order, and the 1960s with a previous illegal and immoral war, has there been such a great outpouring of political art. At the present, a great many artists, working in media, old and new, have again picked up their brushes, cameras or computers to protest against a foul war, destruction of the environment, obscene fiscal gains and abnegation of constitutional rights to express their rage and speak to the public."

War & Empire is part of the "Art of Democracy" project first conceptualized around two years ago by San Francisco printmaker and painter Art Hazelwood, and Stephen Fredericks of the National Arts Club of New York. Art of Democracy ( ) gelled into a nationwide coalition of artists and venues who will be mounting some forty art exhibitions across the country in the run-up period just prior to the 2008 election. Each national exhibit and event has its own sub theme; Meridian Gallery chose "War and Empire". In addition to the Meridian’s exhibit featuring more than forty artists, an extensive schedule of related films, concerts, and lectures is conceived as an integral component of the show. [ Not Our Children, Not Their Children – Mark Vallen. Pencil on paper. 2003. On exhibit at the Meridian Gallery. ]

Artists whose works appear in the War & Empire exhibit: Scott Anderson, David Avery, Will Barnet, Jesus Barraza, Sandow Birk, Fernando Botero, Mark Bryan, Enrique Chagoya, SF Print Collective, Guy Colwell, Francisco Dominguez, Eric Drooker, Ala Ebtekar, Kevin Evans, Bella Feldman, Stephen Fredericks, Juan Fuentes, J. C. Garrett, Art Hazelwood, Frances Jetter, David Jones, Hung Liu, Roberta Loach, Mary V Marsh, Fernando Marti, Doug Minkler, Claude Moller, Malaquias Montoya, Patrick Oliphant, Ariel Parkinson, Francesca Pastine, Patrick Piazza, Phyllis Plattner, Gary-Paul Prince, Rigo, Favianna Rodriguez, Ben Sakoguchi, Jos Sances, Mark Vallen, Gee Vaucher, Mary Hull Webster, Howard Whitehouse, William Wiley, Bruce Yurgil. The Art of Democracy: War and Empire runs at the Meridian Gallery from September 4th, 2008 to November 4th, 2008. Opening reception: Thursday September 4, 6-9 PM. Closing party on election night: Tuesday November 4, 6 PM – midnight. For general information, visit the gallery’s website at:


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