Guns, Flags, Buffalo, and other expressions of patriotism:
J GO Gallery, Park City’s newest contemporary art gallery, invites the public Fourth of July weekend for the opening of Loaded Symbols: The Right to Bear Art. The show features new work by artists Jay Kelly, James Georgopoulos, and Danae Miller whose work takes a multi-faceted look at symbols of American patriotism.
Jay Kelly’s collages incorporate images from found vintage magazines, old letters, history texts, bits of text, and the world around him. In the pieces, the natural and urban worlds fuse, and time starts to overlap as images from different eras co-exist, almost like the of architecture of a city. The works start to feel like small cultural conversations with a distinctly American feel– a classic American car may park next to chickadees, sheet music, and mid-century motel signage. Among Kelly’s works are a series of mixed-media American flags made from scraps of image, text, and found materials that speak to different facets of American dreams, hopes, and history. Each flag is different, with the resulting pieces beautiful as a complete compositions, but interesting also as collections of individual fragments.
James Georgopoulos creates mixed-media pieces that feature larger-than-life silver gelatin photographs of guns– all guns, though, that have been used in films. Georgopoulos enlarges the photographs, some up to five feet in length. These he mounts on panel which is then hand-painted and finished with a thick coat of resin. The result is a beautiful and austere portrait, and while Georgopoulos says that he’s primarily interested in the gun as an image, the object as itself, a five-foot long pistol demands consideration. The viewer is pressed to examine personal feelings about gun politics, the film industry’s use of guns, and wider issues of violence in culture and human nature. The complexity of the symbol combined with the beauty of the object makes for a powerful work of art, and a powerful conversation.
Danae Miller’s bronze sculptures of North American animals– bison and wild horses among them– function as symbols of the American west in a geography where the symbolic has in some ways replaced the original subject. Our relationships to these animals cause us to examine our culture, our way of life, and the rapidly changing story of our western landscape.
Loaded Symbols: The Right to Bear Art engages the complexity of patriotic symbols, and addresses a diversity of American themes with good measures of both pride and reckoning.