‘Monument’ serves as artistic memoriam to soldiers of war

Addressing a topic that is of importance to many today, if not something that many contemplate, Fulcrum's newest exhibiting artist Troy Gua and his show "Monument" illuminate the effects war (particularly the ongoing Iraq war) has had on citizens in terms of loss and the horrific disabilities that come as a result of soldiers young and old committing to fighting a war. Gua's artist statement on the exhibit expounds upon this notion.

"This loss, in particular, is mounting. How do we reconcile this loss? How do we grieve? We all censor our personal losses to varying degrees - we deny, we avoid, we make light, but how do we honor these service losses amid a censored and sterilized public portrayal of the horrific reality of war?"

One of the larger, more in-your-face pieces regarding the ravages of war in the exhibit is the collection of "Monument Tiles" installed on a board which hangs from the wall. Composed of clay and acrylic paint, Gua pays tribute to those soldiers who have been maimed or permanently disfigured as a result of war. Through tiles that contain the well-known images of the men and women identifications on bathroom signs, each tile is unique, with the men and women images shown missing a different body part or appendage. Arms, legs, part of an arm, a hand, heads, bottom halves of torsos and feet are all missing from these "soldiers" who risked their lives for their country.

"Parted" is a sculptural piece that is located to the right of "Monument Tiles" that gets the same essential message across. Concocted out of doll body parts and various sizes of acrylic boxes, the piece piles the parts together to make a mountain of disfigured bodies. A torso, leg, hip, hand, arm, foot, etc. are all encased in see-through boxes that results in a piece that attempts to make light of the situation slightly by using doll parts, yet that also makes the effects of war understandable and real to individuals of any age.  

The last of the trifecta of pieces in the exhibit highlighting war in the present day is "Untitled Soldiers," which is composed of resin-coated lightjet metallic prints mounted on foam core boards. Eight total photographs combine to elucidate individuals' physical losses through doll parts positioned in various ways on velvet pillows to highlight their particular lost limbs and illustrate the mobility and freedom that they have lost as a result.

Gua affirms that though he does not offer any solutions or answers, he hopes his art and exhibits function as conversation starters about a subject that is anything but pleasant, and is one that most individuals not directly related to service men and women tend to avoid or disregard on a daily basis while inundated with news of this loss through the media.

"This installation is my memorial to loss, but it is not an attempt to answer questions because I don't know that there are any answers. If anything, I hope that it invites questions and provokes thought in its viewers on a subject that we as American citizens have been sheltered from. I'm not a soldier and I've never seen war. There are terrific horrors that our service men and women are experiencing that I can scarcely imagine. The least I can do is acknowledge their loss and pay tribute."

"Monument" by Troy Gua is on exhibit now at Fulcrum Gallery through March 13. Fulcrum is located at 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12-6 p.m. For more information, call (253) 250-0520, e-mail fulcrum@oliverdoriss.com or visit the gallery's website at www.fulcrumtacoma.com.

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