Art Out of War exhibit opens with reception

By Observer staff June 26, 2013 10:56 am

From right, veteran artists include Thomas Orr, Daniel Donovan, Jesse Albrecht and Ehren Tool. (Courtesy photo)
From right, veteran artists include Thomas Orr, Daniel Donovan, Jesse Albrecht and Ehren Tool. (Courtesy photo)

Art Out of War, a timely ceramic exhibit, will open at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday. 

The exhibit features the work of five combat veterans brought together by a residency with the LH Project.

The exhibit will be in place through July 17.

Through its residency program, the LH Project offers a private setting for artists to nourish their creative process surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains. 

The artists, who are also veterans of military combat, come together and explore their work in clay.

“It is important to hear directly from the participants (of military conflict), and the arts provide form where the experience and its result can be remade into something tangible,” said artist Jesse Albrecht, who served from 1996 to 2006 in the National Guard and was in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

Ehren Tool served in the Marine Corps from 1989 to 1994 in the Gulf War.

“I would like my work to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the world,” Tool said. “That is a lot to ask of a cup.”

Artist Al Tennant described his creative process.

“My work is an amalgamation from a lifetime of observing nature and human form,” Tennant said. “I am particularly interested in making work that provokes thought as well as creating a sense of mystery.” 

Tenant served as an Army sniper during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam veteran Thomas Orr’s work is also part of the show.

“The forms I choose are minimal and often secondary to the surface,” Orr said. “Currently, the brush is the most important instrument in my toolbox. With the layering of glaze and repeated firings, the forms become fired paintings.”

Daniel Donovan, who served in the army from 2001 to 2009 and spent 2003 in Iraq, spoke of his inspiration. 

“Being a combat veteran, as well as having unhealthy obsession with existential philosophy and science fiction, has opened my eyes to the how truly brief and absurd our lives are,” Donovan said. “I work to give these concepts and ideas form, to translate our absurdity into beauty.”