Artists show their political stripes at Two Wall

When Two Wall Gallery curator Greg Wessel started thinking about the gallery’s October show, he looked at the election calendar and knew he wanted an exhibit with a political theme.

Now, after months of planning, Wessel is eager to welcome the public to what he calls “the single most important art exhibit on Vashon in the last eight years.”

Entitled “Up Against The Two Wall,” the show features the works of 25 artists and opens from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3.

Wessel’s original idea was to fill Two Wall with an exhibit for the election season that looked like a collection of campaign signs or posters. He put out a call for artists asking for works that were “politically and socially engaged.”

Although he solicited works regardless of political affiliation or social issue, everything submitted came from the center and left, reflecting what he called “the depth of outrage with the recent past.”

His call for artists was broadcast by The Beachcomber, Seattle Print Arts and Artists’ Trust, and soon he was getting calls and e-mails from across the country.

It wasn’t long before the organizers of a nationwide collaboration contacted him and asked if Two Wall would like to be part of a group of galleries all doing similar exhibits during the same time period. Two Wall thus became a participant in “The Art of Democracy,” and the Two Wall exhibit was advertised nationally on the Web site

“The grassroots synergy is incredible,” said Wessel. He described the works that arrived on his doorstep as “intimate portrayals” of the artists’ intense response to some aspect of the recent past or issue affecting society today.

“Taken together, they document a collective revulsion as well as hope and a call for change,” Wessel said. “This is indeed art from a democracy, where all of our voices deserve to be heard.”

The works include lithographs, oils, acrylics, collage, sculptures, photo montages, puppets, and more.

Wessel described all the works as “emotionally intense and relevant to the current situation, with some whimsical, some humorous and many treading the territory between thoughtful and profoundly disturbing.”

The 25 artists include eight talented Vashon residents and 17 from Seattle and far beyond.

From Vashon, contributors include Swaneagle, Beverly Naidus, Rick Tuel, curator emeritus Ben Meeker, Dean Hanmer, Jeff Hawley, Mary Pekarek and Tom Gross Shader.

From the greater Seattle area, contributors include Greg Hartman, Norma Fried, Patti Bowman, Scott Nichols, Emily Gunter, Keith Curtis, Iskra Johnson, Sarah Dillon and Kristin Morris.

Artists from eastern Washington and out of state include Selene Vasquez, Bob Tomolillo, Todd Thyberg, Ildiko Kalapacs, Betty Gardner, Neil Brooks, Erin Hoffman and Laurel Leuders.

The reception will include drinks, snacks and, no doubt, interesting conversation.