The Art of The Gun

Gats fill the gallery (Photos by Michael Hogan)

Gats fill the gallery (Photos by Michael Hogan)

Michael Hogan

Fort Point Arts Community, found at 300 Summer St. just over the Fort Point Channel from South Station, is a thriving world of artistic expression with a small gallery and a café. It is a place for artists and those who love art, creators and appreciators alike. The current exhibition in the FPAC gallery is Gunplay, a collection of art by Gary Duehr, barbara poole and Beverly Rippel.

An object of destruction and protection, the gun is the subject of frenzied controversy. There are those who will stand steadfast by their right to have one loaded by their side, there are others who decry that right as the ultimate evil. There are guns everywhere: homes, schools, in the hands of children throughout the world, hunters and those who defend our freedom everyday. Gunplay explores the object, the gun, as a piece of art. In a number of mediums including paintings, sculpture and photography, the three artists delve into the subject from all possible angles.

Gary Duehr’s pigment prints examine the gun as a military instrument. Through blurred images of war, the viewer witnesses the might and precision of the gun. In viewing these images, whether pro-war or against it, you are drawn into a world where the gun is a necessity, a steel savior. Following camo-clad soldiers through the streets of a war torn world, the viewer is confronted with the immediacy and ferocity of a place where the gun is more than just a simple tool, but a lifesaver as well.

“Guns and Butter,” barbara poole’s sculpture, plays with on the fascination with guns and the innocent naiveté of the way some people view guns and their influence. It is a suspended circular sculpture made of dozens of plastic toy guns glued together and pointed with barrels outward. Below the upside down cone of plastic guns stands a toy figure of a man leaning back and looking upward at the cluster of guns dangling above him. The man appears mesmerized by the enormity of what hangs overhead, drawn into something of both great consequence and of simplicity. The use of plastic guns as the material for her sculpture adds another level of profundity to the piece. Guns have become toys, nothing very serious, in much of modern society. Gunplay has become a part of the experience of American youth. In most every suburban neighborhood on a Saturday night in the summer, one can find groups of children playing “cowboys and Indians,” or “cops and robbers,” or any of countless other games that involve simulated gunplay.

Beverly Rippel’s work is some of the best in the exhibition. Rippel’s oil on canvas works show the idiosyncrasies of the gun. In these large-scale paintings the intricacies and complexities of the gun’s manufacturing are revealed in vivid detail. The colors are vivid too, blues and oranges, reminding the viewer that what they are looking at is only the creation of a creative mind. Rippel manages to both make the gun art and to highlight its place as a piece of machinery.

Gunplay is at Fort Point Arts Community until April 13. So, stop in for a bite to eat and to see Gunplay.