"American Voices: Protest and Resistance in Middle America," an exhibition of photographs by Brainerd photographer John Erickson, will be open to the public and without charge at Art Matters Studio and Gallery, 225 Franklin Arts Center, 1001 Kingwood St., Brainerd, from 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30.
"American Voices: Protest and Resistance in Middle America" captures the development of increasing negative and more intensive public reactions to the emerging politics, economics and social policies of President Donald Trump and his administration, as well as the actions of the U.S. Congress, with respect to race, immigration, gun control and the environment.
The emergence of elements of the population taking to "the streets" now and their expressions of protest and resistance tinged with evident discomfort in doing so is seen in signs displayed to those who drive by: "That 'Love Thy Neighbor' thing - I meant that. God," "Make America Kind Again," "Stand Up Against Hate," "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept," and "It's serious when introverts and hermits start marching!"
The approximately 50 photographs are exhibited in black and white, a powerful artistic device meant to underscore the mood of the marches, rallies and protests. By use of black and white, however, the photographs are also meant to be seen as both part of the great history of protest and resistance in America, by patriotic Americans, extending to 1776 and the War for Independence from the British Empire, and as the medium through which much of America became acquainted with opposition to racism in the great photographs of Life Magazine in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and with political opposition to the War in Vietnam in the mid and late 1960s and early 1970s.
Black and white photographs are the stark reflection of conflict in America following President Trump's assumption of office. The images were made mostly in Brainerd, and also in Glenwood, beginning several months after the president's inauguration and ending approximately one year later.
Following the opening weekend, "American Voices: Protest and Resistance in Middle America" can be seen at Art Matters Studio and Gallery from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, and Saturdays, Oct. 13, 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, or by appointment by calling 218-330-1780.