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Faculty Member Showcases Altarpiece-Shaped Paintings in "Other People's Pictures," Sept. 28–Oct. 21

Phyllis Plattner exhibits paintings based on art historic imagery and photo journalism

Posted 08.01.12 by mica communications

Phyllis Plattner, "Chronicles of War/Heads and Hands," oil and gold leaf on linen on panel, 2008.

BALTIMORE--From Friday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 21, MICA will present Other People's Pictures, an exhibition of paneled, altarpiece-shaped paintings based on art historic imagery and photo journalism by faculty member Phyllis Plattner. Painted in oil and gold leaf, these paintings grow out of the profound impact of her experiences living for extended periods of time in foreign cultures--mainly in Chiapas, Mexico and Tuscany, Italy--as well as from her horror at the ubiquity of war in global history. The exhibition will take place in the Bunting Center's Pinkard Gallery (1401 W. Mount Royal Ave.). A reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5-7 p.m.

Plattner has lived on and off in Chiapas over many years and happened to be there during the indigenous Zapatista uprising of 1994. In the series Legends, woolen dolls made by Maya women during the Chiapas revolution represent the Zapatista warriors as protagonists in the Christian narratives of Italian Renaissance paintings so prevalent in Tuscany.

In Chronicles of War, multiple panels are assembled like Renaissance altarpieces, telling the history of human violence through the accumulation of images from diverse cultures.

In the exhibition, Plattner reveals her dismay at the prevalence and irrationality of warfare throughout the history of the world, including our own time. Although peaceful images also appear in her paintings to show the other side of the human condition, these paintings remind viewers that all cultures have made art depicting and glorifying their wars. Victories have been celebrated, and warriors have been idolized through paintings, sculpture, decorative friezes, ceramics and weavings. Not until the Spanish romantic painter, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, became a commentator and chronicler of his era did depictions of the madness of war appear.

"In my paintings, violent images are quoted from both warring and religious sources, as so many wars are fought in the name of God under religious auspices, an association I find both unholy and unfathomable," Plattner explained.


Image caption: Phyllis Plattner, Chronicles of War/Heads and Hands, oil and gold leaf on linen on panel, 2008.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 B.F.A., M.F.A., M.A., M.A./M.B.A., M.A.T., M.P.S. and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.