Dispatches: Artists Engage the Historical Moment

This summer and fall, as part of a national project called the 50 State Initiative, organized by the For Freedoms Federation, Legion Arts will be spotlighting artists who intentionally engage with the messy world around them, whose artworks invite reflection and discussion ― of values, place, patriotism. This first installment includes gallery works by John Paul Schafer, Sam Watkins, Song Park, Gays Against Guns, and Jave Yoshimoto, as well as films by Brent Watkins and Robert Epstein. Alongside Mel Andringa’s reflections on natural disaster, these artists have trained their eye on gun violence, civil rights, the women’s movement, gay rights, gentrification, war, peace, and the plight of refugees and immigrants.

Muro (Wall): Video documentation by Bosco Sodi

For his first public performative installation in London, Mexican artist Bosco Sodi built a wall, 2 meters high by 8 meters long, in the forecourt of The National Theatre on London’s South Bank. A part of Art Night, an event curated by the Hayward Gallery on July 7, 2018, Muro was made up of 1600 clay bricks, fabricated in Mexico with the help of local craftsmen, and individually signed by the artist.

Natural Currency: Paintings by John Dilg

John Dilg, who teaches painting and drawing at the University of Iowa, says of the works in this show, “ My imagery derives from a life-long meditation on my relationship to the land and its vulnerability in human hands. In terms of the fragility our contemporary land possesses, my concern acts to foster the views of regret and the sense of latent danger that often appear in the paintings.

State Change: Mixed media works by Emily Jalinsky

Emily Jalinsky began the works on view in State Change while she was simultaneously pregnant, and traveling the chateaus of France. She sees the works as reflecting a feeling of transcending those spaces, immersed in the dense, repetitive use of gold crown molding and expansive patterns, and at the same time capturing a sense of awe and reverence. However, if one can transcend, then one can spiral as well. Since the birth of her child, Emily has used her artwork to channel through the swings of the mind and body. Addressing the state of mind in which art is made, as well as the effect art has the viewer’s mental state, are among Emily’s objectives as she creates works on paper, assemblages and print installations.