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Exhibit Overview

A Broken Beauty: Figuration, Narrative and the Transcendent in North American Art featured the recent work of fifteen North American artists who deployed a range of figurative and narrative modes in painting, sculpture and mixed media. As artists who matured in the Post-Modern milieu of the late twentieth century, they pondered the meaning of human embodiment by rendering states of physical, mental and spiritual brokenness. The result is often an upending of traditional and conventional notions of beauty in the human form, coupled with the quest for redemption and hope in personal moments or historical events. A Broken Beauty also played a part in exhibitions featuring the resurgence of figurative and representational art. These concerns are a new development in contemporary art, where the prevalence of distancing strategies, easy irony, and the affectation of cool have begun to erode.

A Broken Beauty was organized into six themes: After the Fall, Presence Encountered, Terrors of History, Sanctified, The Mystery of Being and Ecce Homo. The participating artists included Gabrielle Bakker (WA), Gaela Erwin (KY), Erica Grimm-Vance (CAN), Richard C. Harden (CT), Bruce Herman (MA), Edward Knippers (Wash DC/VA), Tim Lowly (IL), Mary McCleary (TX), John Nava (CA), David Robinson (CAN), Joel Sheesley (IL), Stephen De Staebler (CA), Melissa Weinman (WA), Patty Wickman (CA), and Jerome Witkin (NY). Organized by Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and curated by Gordon Fuglie.

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