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Art Amidst the Pandemic

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” – Edward Hopper

Artist Jens Brasch and his wife illuminating one of his most famous piece of art "In the Flame."

Image by Henrietta Eghan

The Brent and Jean Wadsworth family gallery is displaying the first art showcase of the year, featuring the work of famed artist Jens Brasch. Brasch centers his work on the concept of identity, human relationships, and the quest for truth and is showcasing art to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Sept. 18, free of charge.

Brasch has three series of works that will be featured in the display. “Folks” walks through different stages of his life and explores identity, while another series, "Pronouns," has life-size benches to sit on as well as a mock park for the various pronouns people identify with. Finally, there is "Malefactor," an interactive series depicting heroines that escaped from a terrorist organization called Boko Haram.

The artwork caters to Brasch’s belief that “All knowledge, including art, has a social basis and is supported by the shared culture of the society in which the, science, history, is produced.” Brasch’s artwork is representative of himself, his knowledge, and his experiences.

In the “Folks” series, there are numerous artworks that are portraits of Brach’s life. Folk is German for people, and for Brasch, the people in his life anchor his identity. There are portraits of his twin and parents whose identity is linked to the Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II.

Brasch deliberates the question: if you lose your memory, are you still you? How much of who you are in your body, and how much of it is your memory? His work inspires the greater debate between mind and body in what defines one’s identity. Brasch considers “identity to be the most interesting things we have to deal with.” And he certainly is not wrong as today’s issues of gender, political sides, and race all have to deal with identity. These are some questions and theories that Brasch hands off to his audience, and like many mysterious and famed artists, he leaves the intricacies of his art up to interpretation.

To keep guests of the art exhibit safe, there are new regulations on how the art gallery talk will be held. Face masks are required for all attending the exhibit as outlined in the Fall 2020 campus policies. There will be a virtual tour on Facebook, paired with an open door policy on viewing the artwork. Although there will be no wine and cheese reception, students are free to dine and enjoy the discussion safely from home.

This latest exhibit is a follow-up to an appearance from Brasch in 2017, where his works received considerable praise. Brasch’s latest effort is filled with paintings that illuminate, life-sized benches, and room for interpretation that certainly triumphs the former exhibit.

- by Henrietta Eghan


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