A coworker put a real gunshot through a fabric heart for UMKC professor Tammy Welchert’s piece at the Common Threads: Anatomy of the Wound exhibit.
The exhibit, which opened at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center on Sept. 2, depicts recent front-page issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and the shooting of the gorilla Harambe.
Vivid artwork confronts visitors, replicating the swirl of violence and panic that seem to overwhelm the world daily. Welchert described this sensation as a “tornado” effect.
“We’re just bombarded right now with the media—with all these angry words—morning, noon, and night, on the radio, on Twitter, on social media, on everything,” Welchert said. “So for me I just felt like I was in this tornado, all this negativity.”
UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, whose wife, artist Yvette Morton, contributed her work to the exhibit, art can stand out as a way to triumph over this intensifying storm.
“Art can be one of those instruments we use to bring people together and see the other side. Don’t pick up a gun, pick up a paintbrush,” Morton said.
This hope acts as a shimmering overlay for the darkness that much of the exhibit represents.
The art juxtaposes disheartening themes with bright colors, an optimism that floods into the gallery itself as anger and pain spring into discussion. Morton emphasized the continuation of this discussion as most important.
“It’s not enough for you to be comfortable and for you to be the kind of person who would never pick up something that would harm anyone, but how do you reach out to those people who are subject to do something like that?” Morton asked.
The Common Threads: Anatomy of the Wound exhibit will be open until Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2012 Baltimore Avenue.