Disaster is My Muse at Venice Arts Gallery

On August 1, Venice Arts Gallery will host the Opening Reception for its latest exhibition, “Disaster Is My Muse.” Taking its title from an Art Spiegelman quote, “Disaster Is My Muse” explores the realm of the disastrous as it intersects with the canny, familiar, and domestic. The show features 25 international artists who all seek to document the ways in which insidious forces creep into our lives and betray our sense of stability. From natural disasters to atomic warfare to our own personal catastrophes, these works remind us of the fine line between the every day and the cataclysmic.

This is Venice Arts Gallery’s fourth annual Summer Juried Exhibition, a themed show in which artists working in traditional and experimental documentary photography, film, and digital media from all over the globe are invited to submit works for consideration. With a wide range of entries – ranging from critiques on femininity to experimental animation to political divide – this year’s submissions revealed a myriad of exciting and eclectic works that collectively epitomize the gallery’s mission to promote creativity, visual storytelling, community, and education by presenting various artists’ unique perspectives in the documentary form.

“This is a reminder that not all things last forever, but in this case some can still be found hidden away behind locked doors waiting to be rediscovered,” says New Zealand-based photographer Ambrose Benedict of her harrowing interior shots of an abandoned horse track. Her works, alongside the work of U.K.-based photographer Karl Child, confront the familiarity of space with the unsettling feeling of abandonment and desolation.

Working out of Corona, CA, photographer and veteran Ernesto Gutierrez’s piece “Reflections of War” focuses on the small, personal disasters he has to face within himself. “Once the blood has been shed and the bodies packed into bags, the veteran return home with no purpose, but to assimilate back into society.” He says in his artist’s statement. “Dealing with the horrors of war, one can’t turn on and off like a light switch, always on alert and ready to defend your family and friends from an invisible foe. Veterans with PTSD find themselves staring in their mirrors at home and dealing with their demons that they can’t shake off.”

Kyle Bravo, a multimedia artist working out of New Orleans, will be exhibiting work from two different series that both address the post-Katrina realities of his city. “Years after the storm, the effects of Katrina were still ever-present … not only deaths directly related to the storm, but also the deaths brought about by the injustices so deeply rooted in the city that were only exacerbated by the bungled aftermath of the disaster.”

Artists in this Exhibition

Ambrose Benedict (Wellington, New Zealand); Jophel Botero Ybiosa (Quezon City, Philippines); Kyle Bravo (New Orleans, LA); Michele Catagnetti (Venice, CA); Karl Child (Poulton-le-Fylde, UK); Robert Franco (Van Nuys, CA); Ernesto M. Gutierrez (Corona, CA); Nancy Kaye (Los Angeles, CA); Clay Lipsky (Los Angeles, CA); Nektarios Markogiannis (Missolonghi, Greece); Dario Mellado (Los Angeles, CA); Wynn Miller (Los Angeles, CA); W. Scott Norton (Los Angeles, CA); Alexis Onofre (Rosemead, CA); Jordan L. Rodgers (Liverpool, UK); Danny Rothenberg (Los Angeles, CA); Marjorie Salvaterra (Los Angeles, CA); Gareth Seigel (Pasadena, CA); Kate Shannon (Mansfield, OH); Issa Sharp (Los Angeles, CA); Bruno Silva (Oporto, Portugal); Amy Stevens (Berks County, PA); Stephanie Sydney (Venice, CA); Brian Van de Wetering (Los Angeles, CA); Sumon Yusuf (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

About Venice Arts

Now in its twenty-second year, Venice Arts is a nonprofit arts organization that is committed to providing high-impact arts education for low-income youth in the areas of photography, filmmaking, and multimedia. In addition to its core Art Mentoring & Education Program, Venice Arts implements regional, statewide, and international Documentary Programs with both adults and children; presents exhibitions, public programs, and workshops for adults centered around documentary photography and film; and consults on media arts, visual storytelling, and arts education locally and internationally. It is the philosophy of Venice Arts that self-expression, particularly through the arts, has the potential to transform and empower young people to see greater possibilities for themselves and for their communities.

To find out more about Venice Arts, visit www.venicearts.org.

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