Center for Visual Art Presents Armor
DENVER, COLORADO – Knights of the Realm conducting medieval battles between kingdoms, Samurai warriors ruling pre-Modern Japan, and Turkish soldiers of the Ottoman Empire served their days covered in hand-formed sheets of metal made by the artists of their time. These warriors and their protective armor have drifted from memory into legends as the world’s countries change from ruling to governing and adapt to new power structures. Even though the hand-to-hand battles of ancient times are rarely fought in this day, the need to protect oneself from harm persists. Without these protections, how do we face the daily assault of life as we currently know it?
Presented for public viewing from July 30 to October 16, 2021, at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, Center for Visual Art, Armor is an exhibition of artwork that addresses different ways artists express concepts of bodily protection and the means by which we arm and mend ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally. These explorations into armor uncover how structures or ideals can protect, but also fail us. CVA’s Director & Curator Cecily Cullen says of the exhibition, “Art can be a solace, a form of protection in itself, but we also find commonalities and creativity, wisdom and innovation that remind us that anything is possible. Sometimes there are solutions as straightforward as joining together as a community. Other times an expression of absurdity is the only response that is fitting to the incomprehensible offenses perpetrated among us humans.”
In Armor, CVA presents a contemporary take on battle armor and the protective power imbued into objects as the artists create and manipulate the materials in response to the different threats and attacks they face as individuals or within their communities. Merritt Johnson says of her work in the exhibition, “I weave, sew, cast, draw, sculpt and perform tools for surviving current conditions and envisioning regenerative, intersectional, connected ways of being. The mixed materials and processes I create with embody my mixed heritage; advocating allegiance to land, water, and marginalized bodies in the face of continued state violence and oppression.” Additionally, the exhibition features a series of fashionable Kevlar vests created by Erika Diamond “in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, they are specifically tailored and designed to protect my queer-identifying friends, lovers, mentors, and artists I admire, reflecting their individual ideas around personal safety and style”, says Diamond.