Press Release: January 1, 2020: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Gallery Victor Armendariz cordially invites you to our first exhibition of 2020, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, a provocative artistic journey of America's past, present and future. Featuring new works from William Blake and Beth Foley, this show will have you rethinking our future as you contemplate our past.
William Blake (b. 1991)
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory is William Blake’s first Chicago exhibition. At only 28 years old, William has participated in over 40 Civil War reenactment events usually as the artist correspondent Winslow Homer. Immersing himself completely in the experience, he constructs period clothes, camps on battle fields and documents the reenactments in the way that Homer documented the war.
The resulting paintings reverberate the past with respect and with a desire to educate, honor, and play. With each annual iteration of American Civil War reenactments, the reanimation of the past encourages a review of history and aids in its continuous revision.
William Blake lives in the Chicago area. His work has been published in Fine Art Connoisseur, New American Paintings #119, and the Chicago Tribune. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois and a Master of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He has been a resident artist at the Berkshire Painting Residency in New York as well as the Vermont Studio Center. He will be the Artist in Residence at the Gettysburg National Park this summer.
Beth Foley (b. 1951)
Nashville based artist Beth Foley creates precisely detailed, humorous, and peculiar paintings. Her latest series takes a “ripped from the headlines” approach by reimagining and updating the iconic and oft parodied masterpiece, American Gothic by Grant Wood. “I’ve always loved Grant Wood,” says the artist. “When I was in art school everyone made fun of him. Then I moved to San Francisco and went to his show and I felt so validated. I love people and painting people. For this show I started looking for couples that represent America now.”
Perhaps inspired by presidential tweets, news headlines, and evidence of a growingly divided country, Foley finds diverse representatives of the American ideal. Her Muslim American Gothic most closely resembles Wood’s, from the small Gothic style window on the house to the standing pair with pitchfork in hand. But this brightly dressed couple gives new life to the original.
Her Puerto Rican American Gothic abandons Wood’s format and shows a couple standing against a patterned background of hurled paper towels. We are made aware of the connection to the original by a pitchfork entering the scene with one impaled roll aggressively forced at the couple.
Gay American Gothic takes place in a post marriage equality world. There are no bright pride floats or angry protests, just an utterly ordinary couple posing in their living room with their prized possession—a pair of Dolly Parton’s Shoes.