American Mortal - Becky Alley and Melissa Vandenberg

September 29 – October 27, 2017



Exhibition runs: September 29 - October 27, 2017

American Mortal - Becky Alley and Melissa Vandenberg

The Art Academy of Cincinnati is pleased to present American Mortal, an exhibition featuring the artwork of Becky Alley and Melissa Vandenberg. Both artists create works of commemoration, set within the context of United States politics. With current political rhetoric reaching a fever pitch, and the country growing ever more fractured, Alley and Vandenberg jump into the political fray with sincerity and satire, attempting to untangle themes of nostalgia, gender and the homeland. Through a variety of media—sculpture, installation, and works on paper—the artwork challenges cultural notions of power and patriotism, expanding upon an evolving and elusive understanding of American identity. The initial installment of American Mortal was hosted in 2016 by Transylvania University at Morlan Gallery, Lexington, Kentucky.

In the exhibition catalog essay, Anna Brzyski writes, “Becky Alley and Melissa Vandenberg address our current political landscape shaped by the legacy of the most recent wars by engaging in insightful meditations on the meanings of the flags and the fallen—of collective identity and individual sacrifice. Both artists, in very different ways, work to humanize the abstractions that have informed our politics in order to confront their meanings and broader resonances. Becky Alley’s meditative pieces provide metaphoric embodiments for the abstract numbers associated with recent conflicts: number of soldiers who lost their lives, number of displaced refugees, number of civilians killed. Melissa Vandenberg’s exuberant constructions navigate through humor and absurd juxtapositions, and the tension implicit in patriotic symbolism.”

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