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Jan-05-2009 11:04printcomments

Art Mimics, Mocks, The Economic Downturn

Over the past few months, in sync with growing bad news about the economy, a number of artworks related to tight credit, high unemployment, corporate greed and Washington politics are showing up in artists' galleries.

Corproate Conscience by Canadian artist Mark Eliuk
Corproate Conscience by Canadian artist Mark Eliuk
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(CHICAGO, Ill.) - Internet art gallery reports that the adage, art mimics life holds true, and also reports that some art mocks life, especially art related to the recent economic downturn.

A growing number of paintings and fine art photos posted to the online art gallery are themed around current woes related to the financial crisis.

The artworks range in temper from sympathetic, empathetic reflections on the plight of the common man, to critical commentary on corporate greed, and mockery of leadership responsible for the worsening economic outlook.

"We always see art that reflects the good times, but crisis, bad news and social and political controversey really seem to stir the creative juices," said Brian Walker, Artist Relations Manager at the e-commerce art gallery.

It's no surprise that contemporary artists who by nature are gifted with hyper-awareness and a natural desire to express opinion, are reacting to the economic crisis through their art.

Along with creating new works of art, artists are culling their portfolios for pieces that reflect the recent financial crisis, and especially art that communicates their concern about credit, unemployment and corporate greed and the effects of troubled times on the common man.

Walker explains that "We search for talented independent artists and invite them to sell their work in our gallery, so we're actually a curated site."

But Walker adds that artists have "complete freedom" to choose the art that they add to the site, so the themes and ideas reflected in recently posted artwork are a good indication of what's on the minds of independent artists.

And clearly, based on recent postings, the current economic crisis tops the list.

Over the past few months, in sync with growing bad news about the economy, a number of artworks related to tight credit, high unemployment, corporate greed and Washington politics are showing up in artists' galleries.

Fine art photographer, Robert Hicks, recently posted No More Credit to his gallery.

The artist relates deeply with the plight of small town folks who are affected by financial woes.

He writes, "I have been through financial failure when in the 80's the oil business crashed and took my family owned two-man business with it, so I have a personal connection with the images of financial distress, failed businesses, and decaying edifices that once represented someone’s hopes and dreams.

Hicks, however, continues with a positive twist to the tragic story of survival in hard times, "... I also connect with my images of those who try to find a way to survive in tough times – as represented in No More Credit - and find opportunity in the midst of the crisis - as depicted in Cash for Titles. I understand the rocky road of recovery from financial disaster."

Both photographs are part of a series of black and white images depicting the edifices or other traces left by people on the side of the road, inviting the viewer to imagine the stories evoked by those structures, or other mute signs of human presence.

The photos are an invitation to the viewer to use his imagination and write his own story.

Politicians on Parade by American Artist, Maggie Stewart, might be an artwork with a generally accepted point-of-view, but we certainly can connect the thought behind the painting to recent financial bailouts, and espcecially to the regulatory failure that lead to them.

The artwork is a small, but powerful 5" x 7" monoprint on copper plate, and is a real departure from the usual decorative artwork that this very established artist typically creates. Clearly an inspired work of art.

Unemployment Line by South African artist Grady Zeeman reminds us that the economic crisis is worldwide, and is equally or even more severe outside the U.S.

The artist comments in a description of this artwork that unemployment is at crisis level in South Africa, and that rising costs for housing and food make prospects for many South African families bleak.

The large 36" x 24" painting is an original oil on stretched canvas, and is one of over twenty paintings that Zeeman has posted to her gallery.

The artist's mission is to raise awareness of South African issues that affect the lives of her fellow countrymen.

Corproate Conscience by Canadian artist Mark Eliuk leaves nothing to the imagination.

The artist makes no comment about the surrealism portrait because the title, and the painting itself speak volumes about his view of big business.

The 11" x 14" painting is available on stretched canvas as a limited edition giclee print, signed and numbered by the artist. The series is capped at 250 and only twenty of the prints are available for purchase online.

These paintings, some thoughtful and sympathetic, others harsh and critical are signs of the times expressed by artists who masterfully communicate ideas and feelings through images, colors, shapes and design.

A wonderful addition to our world, and truly a unique moment in time documented through fine art.

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