By Michael Aushenker
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Now you can throw in the brush and the chisel, too.
Since June 8, Blue Seven Art Gallery in Santa Monica has presented Swords and Plowshares, a group show featuring works by artists Stanley Bemis, Timothy Kitz, Lynne Roulff, Sergio Tornero, Allen Aldrich, Payam Safaei, and the exhibit’s curators, Lucious Peterson and Randy Ball. A reception has been scheduled for Saturday, June 29.
According to organizers, the title of the art show, which runs through Aug. 3, refers to “the variety and ambivalent nature of weapons.”
“In times of peace, that peace is threatened to take the plowshares, straighten them out and turn them into swords,” Michael Cascadden, one of the exhibiting artists, explained, expanding on the title’s Biblical reference from which the theme is derived. “Victory not enough needs for defense, turning the swords back into plowshares is the most beneficial use of that weapon. Other than what it was intended, weapon into plowshare.”
“Although there are a few legitimate weapons in the show that were made for violent action, many others are ceremonial, decorative, ritual and humorous,” Ball explained.
He also weighed in on the work of some of his exhibiting colleagues: collage artist Bemis “skillfully juxtaposes images from classical and pop art illustrating how ancient emotions are magnified by weaponry,” Ball said. “And he seems to ask if the resulting pain and destruction solves anything or just continues the cycle of violence.
“Lynne Roulff created a painting of a terrible new, but old, weapon: a pressure cooker,” Ball continued, alluding to the household item at the heart of April’s Boston Marathon bombings.
While affixing touches to his work at Blue Seven, Cascadden spoke to The Argonaut about his installation, Special Delivery.
“The invitations were already printed” for the exhibit when Cascadden poked his head into the gallery, which he previously exhibited at with other group shows and as a solo artist. Catching the show in progress, he told Ball he had an idea and wound up collaborating with him on the installation.
Cascadden embarked on “a two-week marathon to get this ready,” he said. With Ball, Cascadden – who has studied at Santa Monica College’s Arts and Architecture school, UCLA, and Otis College of Art and Design (back when it was located near downtown) – affixed a rotating Lazy Susan, a shooting target and a glass table to his piece.
Ball also collaborated with Peterson on a sculpture using a defunct weapon to depict “a World War II bomber and the destruction of the crew and the enemy.”
“The show is not an anti-weapon exhibit but rather on how items are repurposed from combat to collaboration and visa-versa,” he explained.
There’s no word yet on who the “target” audience is for this show. But visitors are welcome to hit the reception and see for themselves whether or not Blue Seven’s latest showcase scores a bull’s-eye.
Blue Seven Art Gallery is at 3129 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Information, (310) 449-1444, blue7gallery.com.
Double-edged ‘swords’: New exhibit at Blue Seven broadens definition of what constitutes a weapon
By Michael Aushenker