Tuesday, May 9, 2017



If you were not there, you missed it! Thirty visual artists from Jacksonville came together Saturday May 6, in a temporary exhibit to protest the current political climate in America and passionately express their mood and opinions opposing the sitting administration through visual and installation art. This one-time show, called Resistance Pop-Up Art Show, was held at The Union Art Studios and Gallery in Jacksonville and every single visitor was highly excited and the crowd was bustling and mingling with artists and discussing recent political developments. The idea to come together was initiated by one of the artists by posting a blatant complaint in frustration on Facebook, calling for all artists and art lovers to act on their feelings of dissatisfaction with the Trump administration. The potentially devastating stream of decisions that have hit our society since Donald J. Trump conquered the presidential seat, is leaving millions of people annoyed, resentful, and devastated but also with a feeling of being powerless. These Jacksonville artists did not feel powerless at all and it showed through their creative expressions. The Resistance Pop-Up Art Show ran from 4-8pm and was organized and hosted by photographer Tammy McKinley, studio manager Kate Frey MacKinnon, and Amber L Angeloni. 
Logo by Michael Slayton
The logo for the Resistance show was created by fellow organizer Michael Slayton. The idea resulted from combining definitions of the word resistance from physics and politics. In physics, resistance means the hindrance to the flow of charge, an impediment to the movement of electricity through a system. In politics, resistance means the opposition to an idea or political environment that threatens core values of equality, freedom of press, freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and access to education and medical care. The artists of the Resistance Pop-Up Art Show created works of art that also intensely express opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia, domestic violence, ethnocentrism, misogyny, suppression of science, environmental degradation, corruption, and human rights abuses. They channeled and voiced the opinions and angsts of many millions of oppressed people and the works were provocative through expressed anger, frustration, and fear. Margete Griffin, Robyn Andrews, and Troy Eittreim had submitted works that spoke to me most profoundly.

"Pandora's Box" by Margete Griffin
An impressive mixed media, protest poster-like panel, created by screen-printer Margete Griffin caught my eye. Margete was right there, so I asked her about her inspirations, process, and materials. She stated immediately that “fake news was used back then” and that “propaganda is dangerous.” She told me that she saw this struggle for rights firsthand in the 1960s. In her hometown Columbus, Georgia, she had experienced the disturbing actions of the KKK and the disabling atmosphere of oppression against women and minorities. Her emotions and frustrations were evident as she said that the various proposed legislative bills, most notably the recent amendment to the healthcare bill, are nothing less than “slamming us women” and that the government is “intentionally working some sort of cleansing.” She passionately states that she “never want[s] to do this [protest] again!” On the panel, which turns out to be a door that she found somewhere, are original clippings from a 1939 Look Magazine depicting Nazi Germany, which subject and relevance needs no further elaboration. “They want us financially disabled and afraid. They want us dependent on men like themselves,” says Margete, so she manually changed the “I Am Afraid” slogan, clipped from a 1960s Smithsonian Magazine, to “I Am NOT Afraid”, indicating that women these days are in a stronger and more influential position than back then and that together we have a chance to withstand this oppression. The work is mostly collage and paint and a few screen-printed birds defecating all over our leader. Where Margete Griffin responded to the call to protest on a political level, Robyn Andrews reacted more personal.

"The Trichotomous Resurrection" by Robyn Andrews
Abstract artist Robyn Andrews displayed three large paintings of actual body prints. Yes, stamps of the whole body! I was initially reacting to a triptych of crucified females as the wide open armed figures were dripping with red, blood-like streaks. It turned out not to be a piece divided over three panels, but three works from a series called Persephone, named after the Greek goddess of the underworld, whose husband Hades allowed her to go to the surface only by his grace for short periods of time. Oh, the symbolism! With this work, Robyn attempted to purge a deeply painful and personal domestic experience. With the first panel, a print of a bleeding female figure without head, hands, or feet, she expressed rejection of the “status quo and crucified all that that had been forced upon her, bleeding out the poison of her objectification.” The third panel shows a female figure hanging upside down, bleeding out, indicating the sacrifices that women make in the face of misogyny and demeaning sexism. The middle panel represents a complete exorcism off all evil enforced by the male. The violently red and orange background and the cacophony of colors on the bodies seem to be burning out the bad and glorifying the central figure to a new level of light and freedom. Robyn’s profoundly personal protest against male dominance echoes that of many women, but where she is reacting deeply emotional, Troy Eittreim responds almost blasé.

“The Real Donald Trump is a Liar, a Fake, a Fraud, a Con, a Disaster! And I Can’t Stand That Sack of Shit!” by Troy Eittreim
Troy Eittreim is a neo-surrealist who most likely will not appreciate being put in that box. He usually creates digital images printed on large canvas, and displayed as paintings. His collage-like work is edgy to the point of anti-art. Even though he was the actual artist calling out on Facebook for this protest, he managed to submit … a drawing! On crumbled photo paper and in permanent marker, he badly rendered the image of Donald Trump holding a bag of money with the words “The real Donald J. Trump” written along the side of the body and “Liar & Fake” on the body itself. There was no framing or indeed any attempt to display his work in a pleasing way. On the contrary! To further express his utter defiance, Troy solved the hanging-to-display issue with a binder clip. At first, I was somewhat taken aback but then I found the entry amusing. It took me a little bit to come to the realization that this was the ultimate protest!  Not only does Troy protest against this government and directly against the man who conned and stole his way onto the leadership chair, but he shows profound contempt and disgust by not granting the man any more of his precious creative time than a few hasty scribbles and a clip. The title of this work, “The Real Donald Trump is a Liar, a Fake, a Fraud, a Con, a Disaster! And I Can’t Stand That Sack of Shit!” says all Troy needs to convey and leaves it at that. Brilliant!
The Resistance Pop-Up Art Show was short but powerful. All participating artists are willing to show again if any gallery, museum, or curator feels the call to act. Or even if you personally want to pick up the torch, please contact Tammy McKinley. In her words, thanking everybody who contributed to this event, “Every piece in was strong, emotional, thought provoking, and exceptional. Your work inspired so many people. Thank you so much for lending your voice to the conversation. The resistance is real and last night we expressed it!”

Participating artists (in no particular order):
Hope McMath, Jim Smith, Princess Simpson Rashid, Margete Griffin, Susan Gibbs Natale, Christina A. Boykin, Tammy McKinley, Clinton Eastman, Kate Frey MacKinnon, Michael Slayton, Amber L Angeloni, Dan Hutton, Christopher Clark, Robyn Andrews, Mark S Zimmerman, Jason Tetlak, Katie Bahn, Dana Fawn, Griffith Hood, Jenna Rae Summa, Ishanna Ible, Traci Mims, Kelly Brenner, Troy Eittreim, Elena Øhlander, Kelli Suzanne Smith, Jason Haas, Patrick Miko, Deborah Reid, Rob Hardin, Overstreet Ducasse

For more Information: www.unionstudiosart.com
or call: (334) 324-1818
Resistance Art Show
The Union Art Studios and Gallery
700 E. Union St. Unit 3B
May 6th, 2017 4:00-8:00 pm

Andrews, Robyn. Artist, CoRK Arts District. Instagram.com/41artlife
Cerri-Bartels, Sylvia. Photographs for this article.
Griffin, Margete. Griffin House Fine Art and Illustration. Instagram.com/griffhouse
McKinley, Tammy. Photography. Instagram.com/tmckinleyphoto