Art and Social Consciousness

BY DEBORAH WINIARSKI

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”

— Bertolt Brecht (1896-1956)

“Art is a lie which makes us see the truth.”

— Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

At the beginning of the 20th century in the West, shifts in artistic styles and vision erupted in response to major changes in the atmosphere of society. The Industrial Revolution and all its new technologies altered the individual’s worldview. Artists reflected the impact of these developments by moving away from a realistic representation of what they saw toward a more emotional rendering of how the world affected them. Ideas in Art shifted away from ‘Art for Art’s Sake’ toward an expression of the meaning of the emotional experience. In work from this time, subject matter directly reflected or referenced a surrounding condition. The influence of this ‘Expressionist’ movement is still evident today.

The works included below are engaging us in a conversation within their own frame of reference. They are raising questions, raising awareness, causing us to ponder and to even examine ourselves. In these works, the world is reflected back to us through the interpretation of each Artist.


Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, The Red Wall I, 2014; encaustic, textiles, transferred image, ink, pan pastel; 12 x 12 inches. Photography: Christopher Gardner

Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, The Red Wall I, 2014; encaustic, textiles, transferred image, ink, pan pastel; 12 x 12 inches. Photography: Christopher Gardner

Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, There’s Nothing to Sing About, 2014; encaustic, textiles, transferred image, ink, oil pastel, pan pastel; 20 x 20 inches. Photography: Christopher Gardner

Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, There’s Nothing to Sing About, 2014; encaustic, textiles, transferred image, ink, oil pastel, pan pastel; 20 x 20 inches. Photography: Christopher Gardner

“’Mi Patria’ is Spanish for ‘my country.’ ‘Remendando’ comes from the verb ‘Remendar’: to mend or patch a piece of clothing to fix it. Using this analogy, the Remendando Mi Patria series evolved as my visual expression from delving deeply into the current disturbing political reality of Venezuela, my birth country.”

— Corina S. Alvarezdelugo


Amber George. Mosey on Over, 2013, mixed media on panel, 24 x 20 inches

Amber George. Mosey on Over, 2013, mixed media on panel, 24 x 20 inches

Amber George, Tilde, 2013, mixed media on panel, 36 x 36 inches

Amber George, Tilde, 2013, mixed media on panel, 36 x 36 inches

“While governments consider a border concrete, the organic and ephemeral in life pay no attention. Weather rolls over them, birds fly across, even rest on the fence designating the boundary. The weather forecast is the same, in English or in Spanish in my border town, the storm doesn’t really care.”

— Amber George


Nancy Natale, Barred, 2015; matboard, ink, treated aluminum, leather from handbags, tacks, encaustic on panel; 30 x 30 inches. Photography: John Polak Photography

Nancy Natale, Barred, 2015; matboard, ink, treated aluminum, leather from handbags, tacks, encaustic on panel; 30 x 30 inches. Photography: John Polak Photography

Nancy Natale, White Armor/Undies, 2013; cardboard, matboard, found lace, rubber, carpet, tacks, encaustic on panel; 16 x 17 inches. Photography: John Polak Photography

Nancy Natale, White Armor/Undies, 2013; cardboard, matboard, found lace, rubber, carpet, tacks, encaustic on panel; 16 x 17 inches. Photography: John Polak Photography

“Studying European armor led me to thoughts about the conflicting function and purpose of clothing, especially for women. The body is concealed, protected, decorated, and even abused to confine it to ideals of beauty, societal rank, and cultural dictates. These thoughts underlie my Tribal Meets Tudor series.”

— Nancy Natale


Gwendolyn Plunkett, Linear A3, 2013 on-going; repurposed book pages, Lokta paper, India ink, encaustic and oil bar on panel; 20 x 16 inches

Gwendolyn Plunkett, Linear A3, 2013 on-going; repurposed book pages, Lokta paper, India ink, encaustic and oil bar on panel; 20 x 16 inches

Gwendolyn Plunkett, Linear A1, 2013 on-going; repurposed book pages, Lokta paper, India ink, encaustic and oil bar on panel; 16 x 20 inches

Gwendolyn Plunkett, Linear A1, 2013 on-going; repurposed book pages, Lokta paper, India ink, encaustic and oil bar on panel; 16 x 20 inches

“The New Language series evolved from an interest in body language, specifically literary tattoos, and a desire to create a visual book. Drawings in combination with book pages, soaked, layered and made translucent with beeswax, suggest tactile skin-like surfaces. The result, a physical language translated into the idiom of the bound volume.”

–Gwendolyn Plunkett


Jeff Schaller, Cash Cow, 2015, encaustic, 24 x 24 inches

Jeff Schaller, Cash Cow, 2015, encaustic, 24 x 24 inches

Jeff Schaller, Good Choice, 2013, encaustic, 12 x 12 inches

Jeff Schaller, Good Choice, 2013, encaustic, 12 x 12 inches

“The world is filled with good and evil, good and bad art. The choice is daunting. The pull to one side or the other is great. I focus my talents for the good and sometimes even the BEST! These paintings illuminate good cocktails, good ideas and some oldies but goodies.”

— Jeff Schaller


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