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Making Art From The Things We Fear

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Suzanne Vigil, Ick , colored pencil 35 x 30
Suzanne Vigil
Suzanne Vigil, Ick , colored pencil 35 x 30

Fears and Phobias, a mixed-media exhibit at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory, brings forth the anxieties that lurk in the corners of our minds, and challenges us to look right at them.

Lia Newman juried the show, choosing 21 pieces out of more than 500 submissions. Newman points out a painting of the traditional European toile de jouy. “There's all these lovely, cheerful people on swings and in lovely dresses, basically with guns being aimed at them,” she says.

Some of those holding guns have their faces half-covered by bandanas, some are in full army fatigues, and some of the gunslingers are children.

“I think it's the dichotomy of life, the dangers that might exist,” Newman says.

Susanne Vigel, one of the local artists in the show, drew a jewel-toned, zoomed in cockroach. “The name of the drawing is Ick,” she says, “And I think that pretty much sums it up!”

To create the work, Vigel says she spent about 100 hours face-to-face with the pest. As you gaze at it, or another of the 21 pieces of artwork that make up the show, don’t be surprised if you can’t stop staring, even though you may want to look away.

Fears and Phobias runs through February 19 at the Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery.

Photos: Fears Exhibit

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