“IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans”, Curated by Ken Hruby
May 17 – June 24, 2018
Location:Cultural Centerat Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Gallery Hours:Thurs – Sun, 12:00 – 4:00 PM in May, 12:00 – 6:00 in June
Opening Reception: Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 3:00 – 5:00 PM
ADiscussion with Andrew Bacevich: Veteran, Gold Star Parent, Military Historian, Commentator Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 6:30 – 8:00 PM, The Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Co-sponsored with the Cape Ann Forum
All events at no charge to the public, donationsgratefully accepted.
Gloucester, Massachusetts, April 17, 2018– The Rocky Neck Art Colony (RNAC)proudly presents “IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans”, a multi-media, juried exhibition of over sixty works by more than thirtycombat artists from the military services and by veterans making art from their experiences in zones of combat. The exhibition opens on Thursday, May 17, 2018 and continues through Sunday, June 24 at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson St., Gloucester, MA 01930. The gallery is open each Thursday – Sunday in May from noon until 4:00 PM and in June from noon until 6:00 PM. The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 – 6:00 PM. Immediately following the reception, everyone is invited to a special event at the nearby Gloucester Stage Company theater at 6:30 – 8:00 PM. A Discussion with Andrew Bacevich, a veteran, a military historian and commentator. This event is co-sponsored with the Cape Ann Forum.
Congressman Seth Moultonof the 6thcongressional district of Massachusetts, himself a Marine Corps veteran of four tours in Iraq, states of this exhibition, “The ‘incommunicable experience of war,’ as Oliver Wendel Holmes once described it, indeed often defies explanation by words alone. That veterans can share some of their experience through art can help us all better understand what they went through. And as a veteran myself, who returned to war with a camera after I left the Marines, I know how cathartic art can be for those of us who were there. The work of combat artists is important for civilians as well, to deepen their understanding of the lives of our service men and women, and their families. “In War and After” is an a very important exhibition for both communities.”
Few people are aware that when US military forces go to war, some of them carry, in addition to their weapons, their sketch pads, graphite pencils, watercolor brushes and cameras. These are combat artists, tasked to not only serve the combat mission but to record that mission in ways only an artist can. Men and woman have served in this capacity from WW II to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
One such person, Robert Louis Williams, a Cape Ann fine artist and RNACmember, was a Marine Corps infantryman and combat artist in the Vietnam War. It was upon learning of Bob Williams’ service that the RNACventured to prepare this exhibition. It presents not only the work of official combat artists, but of veterans of combat who chose later to express their experiences through the visual arts.
This exhibition celebrates the vibrant art communities have arisen among military veterans of war across the United States. One representative of this is the exhibition curator, Ken Hruby, a US Military Academy graduate, veteran of Vietnam, noted sculptor and faculty member at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston. Ken’s installations have been widely exhibited, the latest in a recently completed exhibition sponsored by Long Island University in Brooklyn.
“IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans”presents the lives of combat servicemen andwomen, both active and veteran, in ways that break through the images and stereotypes presented in film and other media. The textures of these lives have too often become disconnected from, and misunderstood by, the civilian community. This exhibition seeks, through the powerful medium at art, to enhance understanding and connection. It presents the work of artists from all over the United States in multiple media; sketches from battlefields, encampments and military hospitals, oils on canvas, sculpture from bronze and wood, watercolors on paper, video, poetry and more. Peter Wernau, President and CEO of Wernau Asset Management, and a major supporter of the exhibition writes,“We are proud to support our veterans and humbly strive to live by the values they set for our country of loyalty, courage and integrity.”
No one comes home from a war unchanged. Combat veterans who are artists have the means to process those changes that are both cathartic and expressive. This exhibition explores the wide range of veteran’s responses to being “in war and after”, from the very literal through the abstract to the conceptual in a deliberate attempt to represent as wide a range of response by veterans as possible. After reviewing the submissions to the exhibition, curator Ken Hruby states,“As a veteran of Vietnam and an artist, I’ve been waiting a very long time for this show. It offers the public a wide variety of the amazing work of combat artists and other veterans. It’s been a joy and an honor to be involved.”