“The Assembly” At the Helzer Art Gallery
By Nicole Schmidlin for The Bridge
Assembly. Prudence Roberts interprets this word out of its normal context, to mean, “right to, freedom of, act of.” Rock Creek’s Helzer Art Gallery is now featuring Assembly. This group exhibition is your chance to see artists’ interpretation of the recent presidential election.
Prudence, Director of Helzer Art Gallery, explains that the morning after the election was her inspiration, “I think right after the election everyone was wondering what was going to happen; what to do next.” She asked 10 artists, 9 of which were featured, to produce abstract or concrete visual representations of that reflection. Viewers claimed the results to be emotional and powerful messages. Prudence Roberts hopes that Assembly will inspire other artists, broaden their perspective, and open them to the variety of ways to be expressive.
Assembly reflects on, “…The upset of the election, the horrible rancor of the campaign, the rudeness and cruelty of the campaign…” Photographer and artist featured in the gallery, Julie Keefe, started accumulating portraits of people right after the election and asking them to write down a message to the president. All of the portraits in the Assembly gallery are images and quotes from Portland Community College Students.
Julie plans on sending her portrait portfolio back to Washington. Another photographer, Jim Lommasson, captured, what was thought to be, one of the most heart wrenching pieces in the gallery. Jim wanted to share the stories of the refugees from the Middle East. The question that embodies his work was: “What do you take with you if you’re never going to go home again; to remind you of home?”.
Jim got in contact with refugees in Portland and photographed the few belongings they had taken with them. Some objects were dolls, others images of loved ones. He asked the refugees to write a message of what the belongs they chose to take meant to them. Above is a family photo, written around it describes where they are now. The mother buried somewhere unknown and the writer, waiting for his American passport to find her grave, expressed, “… Oh those politicians.”
Photo Caption : “Jim Lommasson’s annotated photo.”