“I did not intend to make May a month of artistic propaganda, it just fell into place. One of my passions is the interplay between art and politics and this month our exhibitions are layered with propaganda and critical dialogues about this relationship. We had the opportunity to mount these two exhibitions together to call on the public to take notice of very important issues. I have wanted to develop a political exhibition since completing my MA thesis, which focused on the US government’s appropriation of modern art in its anti-communist campaign in the 20th century. These shows focus on the power of art to cause awareness and critique our current social trends and the government funding of the arts and nonprofit social welfare organizations. Enjoy!” – monOrchid curator, Justin Germain
Mila Strugatsky: Splinters of Civilization
Soviet born Mila Strugatsky, escaped the communist regime with her family in 1973 and studied art in Paris and New York. The artist’s travels and experiences created her cosmopolitan identity and universal perspective about the shared joys and pains of all people. Strugatsky’s awareness of the injustices experienced around the world is an obsession she continuously explores through her art and set the mood in her paintings. Her works are intricately detailed and rich in composition and color. Each painting combines a unique mixture of classical mythology, biblical themes, or memories from a tyrannical regime with contemporary techniques. The body of work on display at the monOrchid borrows from the shared memory and re-frames the past in contemporary settings that envision the future by critically exploring social issues of tyranny and oppression.
Strugatsy moved to Phoenix in late 2012 and brought her paintings completed on the east coast. When she first met the monOrchid curator Justion Germain she expressed that her previous work was “heavy and cold, much like Russia, or New Jersey.” She moved to the valley to explore a new environment and how it would affect her mentality, and her painting.
The exhibition will include a multimedia installation, which is a critical statement about Strugatsky’s view of the present state of public art funding and the political focus of the current US government. “Create not kill” is the artists sentiment for the work which will hopefully call attention to the appropriations of public funds to destructive programs instead of the arts. The show is accompanied by an installation by Ben Kern that further explores the lack of support and funding for arts organizations.
****Special Engagement May 14-17 in the monOrchid gallery****
C12 Collective: Social Conversations-Stigma!
Stigma! is a photo-documentary project organized by Capture 12 founder Stephen Gittins. Known as the C12 Collective, photographers Gittins, Emily Matyas, Alexandria D. Logue, Mike Williams, Jose Sosa, and Spencer Dutton takes a raw look at those affected by the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Gittins states, “My curiosity caused me to look at my community further and after some research, it became apparent that there are quite a few organizations in Downtown Phoenix who are helping the vulnerable back into society.” The artist is no stranger to the struggles many of the project’s subjects due to his personal challenges through recovery and feels an immense connection to them and their plight.
The images in the exhibition draw attention to subjects who would normally be ignored due to the nature of its content. They also reflect the power of organizations who have a mission to help those considered as vulnerable. The collective exhibition tells the story of the people who suffer and those who fight to help them. Through the eyes of the diverse photographers the viewer experiences the hope that these organizations generate. The collective’s hope is that the visual imagery will cultivate awareness of charitable organizations in Downtown Phoenix that empower individuals in our community who are ostracized due to a lack of understanding of the various circumstances that alienate them from society.