Art of War: Three Exhibits, Real Images and Creative Interpretations

NEW YORK—Subtle, informative and heart wrenching, Tim Hetherington‘s war photographs are incredibly artful. From his compositions of U.S. soldiers at rest in Afghanistan to moments from the Libyan civil war, his images at Yossi Milo Gallery document the reality and humanity of war, telling visual stories with care, courage and attention to detail.

Exhibits at neighboring Chelsea galleries also feature work that explores themes of war. Sculptures by Gehard Demetz (above) are on view at Jack Shainman Gallery and Jim Kempner Fine Art is showing installations by Craig Norton. Spanning photography, sculpture and mixed-media, the exhibits showcase artists whose relationships to the subject vary greatly.

All photos by Arts Observer

Hetherington, a globally celebrated and critically acclaimed photographer, was killed in April 20, 2011, while on assignment in Libya. Today is the last day his photos will be on view at Yossi Milo Gallery. “Taken mostly from the center of political and social conflicts in West Africa and the Middle East, Tim Hetherington’s work focused on the experience of war from the perspective of the individual,” Yossi Milo notes in its release.

See more gallery images here.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is also showing Hetherington’s photographs of U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan. “Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers” is on view from February 4 to May 20, 2012. It closes tomorrow.

In “Threshold Space,” Italian artist Gehard Demetz‘s wood and bronze sculptures of precocious children brandishing oil cans and strapped in what appear to be explosives, tackle issues of war, religion and politics. The works at Jack Shainman Gallery conjure disturbing scenarios, but are crafted with remarkable precision—from the masterfully carved contours of the young faces looking at once innocent, forlorn and stern to the modular wood configurations of the sculptures and the striking color blocking of the pale lime wood contrasted with the deep yellow and black adornments. The exhibit is on view at Jack Shainman from April 26 to May 26, 2012.

Craig Norton‘s narrative series of vignettes is composed of “photo-realistic” images that delve into the effects of war. “Tim Came Home from the War and Isn’t Timmy Anymore” confronts the struggles endured by soldiers (and their families) when their deployment ends. A self-taught artist who lives and works in Perry, Mo., Norton’s exhibit was inspired by a conversation with a family friend, “a veteran who returned from three tours of duty with a Purple Heart and severe brain injures.” His mixed-media works are drawn and collaged with wallpaper and combined with three-dimensional elements (a wood doorway, a wood casket) giving them more depth, life and physical presence. The exhibit is at Jim Kempner Fine Art from May 12 to June 17, 2012.

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