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Curtis R. Harley Gallery at the University of South Carolina Upstate hosts exhibition on gun violence
Installation view.

SPARTANBURG, SC.- Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery is presenting A Culture of Violence, a collection of drawings and sculptures by Hartsville, SC artist Jean Grosser. The exhibition opened on January 12 and runs through February 16, 2018.

In A Culture of Violence, Grosser analyzes gun culture in the United States. Timely and unapologetic, Grosser’s works address the proliferation of and societal attitudes towards guns in the U.S. and the impact this culture has on our communities.

A New York native, Jean Grosser earned her MFA in sculpture from Ohio University and currently teaches at Coker College, where she is chair of the Art Department. Grosser has received several grants and fellow-ships, including the Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Her work has been featured in over 100 exhibitions, collections, and publications both nationally and internationally, among them the collections of the Freedom Rides Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial.

Artist’s Statement
Since 1993, I have been creating sculptures inspired by political events. My artistic interests stem from a family tradition of political activism. My grandfather was a conscientious objector during World War I. His experiences in military prisons (Alcatraz and Leavenworth) between 1918 and 1921 have been the subject of my artwork in the past.

In 2006 I responded to a call for entries from the Holter Museum in Helena, Montana. The museum offered neo-Nazi hate books to artists who would use them to transform their message of hate. My initial series, included in the exhibition Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate at the Holter Museum was a series of eight artworks based on my Jewish heritage. I used the torn singed pages of the hate books as a backdrop for small sculptures that included photos of my aunts, uncles and great grandparents, four of whom emigrated to the US before WWII and four of whom did not survive.

I continued to use neo-Nazi hate books to create additional works about ethnic and racial hatred. These were large-scale drawings (75” x 50”) entitled Fragments of Hate depicting crumpled pages from the book The White Man’s Bible.

My most recent research has focused on the proliferation of guns in the United States, resulting in a series of sculptures and drawings that address our reverence for firearms and the toll they take on society.

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