Margaret Evangeline: On War

March 13 – August 6, 2015

From March 13 – August 2, 2015, the LSU Museum of Art will present Margaret Evangeline: On War.  This retrospective exhibition of Baton Rouge native Margaret Evangeline examines the nature of modern war and violence through the artist’s provocative paintings, mixed media and installation works. Evangeline’s art explores the causes and effects of modern combat, and reflects the capacity of art to represent and respond to war. Her art is often itself made using the tools of war, her paintings and installations produced through gunshots and punctured by bullet holes so that they embody the very violence she seeks to critique.

Margaret Evangeline: On War brings together for the first time Evangeline’s paintings and her evocative mixed media and installation work to tell the full story of her art. The exhibition will include recent paintings like the artist’s Lines of Communication, which considers the way our distance from sites of violence impact our thinking about conflicts in far-distant places like Iraq. The exhibition will also include earlier works in stainless steel completed during Evangeline’s first forays into using guns to make art.  Alongside these paintings, the exhibition features works from Evangline’s recent Sabachthani series, including The Stations, a set of sculptures created in collaboration with her son while he was on active duty as a solider in Iraq, and two anonymous solders in Afghanistan.

Evangeline describes her signature bullet marked canvases and gunshot markings on stainless steel and as “painting without paint.” These personal and emotionally charged works meditate on the use of force in human affairs, evoking Simone Will’s 1940 concept of a “poem of force.” Her art comments upon current conflicts and wars, but also engages with a much longer history of war and violence throughout the world. Sabachthani, for instance, utilizes iconic press images of historic events during the turbulent 1960s alongside more recent material from the Iraq War, and concludes with a list of all of the recorded wars fought by man, beginning with the first, The Conquest of Sumner, which took place in what is now Iraq, and ending with the most recent war in Afghanistan.  

Evangeline’s art challenges a common perception among Americans that war is something that happens far away, to someone else. Her art is that of a mother whose family has been directly impacted by war, as well as that of an artist with an incisive ability to bring war home. At a time when world events demand that we turn our attention to public policy and foreign affairs, Margaret Evangeline poses an ambitious question: can we stop long enough to meditate on the more personal impact—and lasting effects—of war and violence?