VSU Fine Arts Gallery Presents Bearing Witness: Installations by Margi Weir
Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
Margi Weir’s creative research deals with everything from the polarization of the United States to gun-related violence to the separation of families seeking refuge in the land of the free, the home of the brave.
“My work … has always been about topics that are personal, even if political,” she said. “It is often the only way that I can come to terms with things that anger me or frighten me. I have become so horrified by the level of anger and division in this country that I must take a look at it through making work about it. I don’t expect my work to change anything, but through a juxtaposition of images, I hope the viewer will come away with a continued questioning of their own.”
Weir’s exhibit opened Monday, Feb. 17, in Valdosta State University’s Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery. Admission is free of charge and open to the public. The artist will discuss her work during a closing reception from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, March 6.
An associate professor of painting and drawing at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Weir’s work, according to her artist biography, “calls upon figurative arrangements and presents them in a tapestry-like fashion. The juxtaposition of elements creates unique, pleasing patterns, blurring — but not hiding — the sociopolitical and ecological themes in her pieces.”
Bearing Witness: Installations by Margi Weir features works from three of the artist’s recent series.
Weir began one of the three series in 2017. She described it as “a response to the way that our country became so polarized under the aegis of red or blue during the last presidential campaign. Hue is not meant to be conflated with the politics of race or identity. It is not about skin color but about the politics of hues ….
“To date, this series consists of 10 acrylic paintings on plexiglas that are surrounded by cut vinyl applied to the gallery wall as an intermediate step between the picture plane and the architectural environment. Each painting presents a collection of images about a specific color with both good and bad associations. They are presented in spatially flattened, textile-like compositions that mimic the unranked way that images are now disseminated in our culture in the 21st century.”
Another series was inspired by the death of two of Weir’s friends who were shot and killed after they tried to take possession of a home purchased at a foreclosure auction. The incident happened just after Thanksgiving Day 2014 on the west side of Detroit, Michigan.
“Everyone involved had a legal hand gun,” she said. “Nonetheless two people are dead and the third will be spending his life in prison. In response, I made a series of work based on the pattern of gun violence in America.”
The rest of the pieces in Weir’s exhibit at VSU are new works she made “in response to the separation of refugee children from their parents at the southern United States border and the imprisonment of those children under miserable conditions,” she said. “As a resident of the state of New Mexico for 15 years, the unnecessary building of a border wall has been of concern to me for a long time. I agree with the Dalai Lama when he says, ‘We should be building bridges not walls.’”
Julie Bowland, director of the Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery, described Weir’s multimedia exhibit as both political and personal, a mixed bag of painting, drawing, illustration, graphic design, sculpture, and installation. She said the gallery walls are enveloped in color, shape, symbols, patterns, and words expressing passion, anger, fear, and humor.
Weir has earned numerous awards for her work, including a 2019 Puffin Foundation Ltd. grant to support her justice in America work, a 2017 Puffin Foundation Ltd. grant to support to gun violence work, a Best of Show Grand Prize at a 2016 juried exhibition at the Las Vegas Contemporary Art Center, and a Best of Show in a 2015 Human Rights Exhibition at South Texas College. Her work has been featured in galleries across the country. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Master of Art in painting from New Mexico State University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from San Francisco Art Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Wheaton College.
The Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery is located on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.