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St. Lawrence University Art Gallery Exhibiting 'Seeing the Elephant'


Last updated 11/2/2015 at 3:31pm

Seeing the Elephant

St. Lawrence University's Richard F. Brush Art Gallery is currently hosting the exhibit "Seeing the Elephant: Artists Respond to Conflict and War," on display through Oct. 10.

George Wilkins Kendall noted in Narrative of the Santa Fe Expedition (1848) that "Seeing the Elephant" signified a man's disappointment in "anything he undertakes, when he has seen enough, when he gets sick and tired of any job he may have set himself about."

Selected works from St. Lawrence University's permanent collection draw attention to conflicts and uprisings spanning centuries and continents. The brutality of war as depicted in Spanish artist Francisco Goya's "Los desastres de la guerra" series contrasts with the use of art as therapy by contemporary U.S. veteran-artists of Combat Paper. Other work in the exhibition served as propaganda; Albert Sterner's poster, "We Need You" from World War I called on middle-class women to assist the war effort as nurses and medical workers. A 19th-century woodcut by Mizuno Toshikata glorifying the deeds of a commanding officer during the Sino-Japanese War is juxtaposed with contemporary woodcuts by Canadian artist Freda Guttman condemning the genocide of the Mayan people in Guatemala.

The exhibition was organized by Carole Mathey, assistant director of the Brush Art Gallery, and Melissa Schulenberg, associate professor of art and art history.

An informal gallery discussion will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5, in the gallery with Donna Alvah, associate professor and Margaret Vilas Chair of U.S. History; Laura Rediehs, associate professor of philosophy; and Melissa Schulenberg, associate professor of art and art history.

For more information, visit the St. Lawrence's Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at


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