Firearms and Firestone: Art Lecturer Has Explosive Topic
By Dawn Medley
Margaret Evangeline shoots things. Wait, that doesn’t sound good. Margaret Evangeline is an artist who shoots things. Better, but not quite right yet. Margaret Evangeline’s artistic genius is that she transforms gunshots (and nail holes and other types of punctures) on sheets of metal into breathtaking pieces that provoke thought and conversation.
Mary Baldwin College hosted this revolutionary artist November 14–16 as the first visitor in what the college plans to be an annual series named in honor of artist and alumna Susan Paul Firestone ’68. The series is made possible by a donation in Firestone’s name from Ray Graham III, one of Firestone’s extended family members. Graham generously supports arts events, collections, and publications around the country, primarily in contemporary art.
Evangeline’s public event, “Prodigal Daughter,” was November 14 in MBC’s Francis Auditorium. To take full advantage of the New York-based artist’s time at the college, she visited several art courses, lunched with art students, led an art critique, and met with art and art history faculty during her three-day stay.
A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native, Evangeline has lived and worked in New York City since 1993, where she exhibited at Art Resources Transfer, The Ise Foundation, and White Box Gallery, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2001), and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant (1996). Her work has received wide coverage in publications such asArt In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Chicago Tribune,andArt Newspaper.
Evangeline’s use of guns to develop art was inspired by an artists’ retreat at the Santa Fe Arts Institute in New Mexico, according to a 2004 article in The Times-Picayune (Louisiana) about an upcoming exhibit. “‘I don’t know why I decided to start shooting paintings. I’d been working in metal [in her studio in Chelsea, New York] and it seemed like a natural step,’” Evangeline said in the article. The results were explosive. Pun intended. In one piece from her Polychromaculate Series, ragged edges of large holes and clean-cut smaller holes are accented in burnt orange against a dark blue background. An installation piece in Ghent, New York, called “Gunshot Landscape,” juxtaposes a large piece of highly reflective, suspended metal in front of mature trees. Although Evangeline will not be exhibiting at MBC, many of her pieces can be seen at www.margaretevangeline.com.
Series namesake Susan Firestone is an art therapist and psychotherapist who counsels children and adults in New York City — many of whom are still working out issues as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She exhibited paintings, sculptures, and her trademark neon light creations at MBC in 2005, and was featured in an article in the college’s monthly newspaper, www.mbc.edu/cupola/archives/cupola_v1n6.pdf.
The inaugural Susan Paul Firestone Lecture in Contemporary Art at MBC. It has all the makings of a surefire evening. Bulletproof vest not required.
Front image: Polychromaculate #4