Exhibit paints picture of artist’s legacy

The Southerner

As a tribute to the late painter Arnold Mesches, a free solo exhibition has opened at Hathaway, a contemporary art gallery located at 887 Howell Mill Rd. Arnold Mesches: Visions of a Century features several painting series and drawings by the artist.
The exhibit, open from January through March 11, showcases collections by the Bronx-born artist that grapple with the artistic, cultural and political movements of the past and present centuries.
The exhibit features eight images from Mesches’s painting series, Anomie (1989-2006), in addition to 13 works on paper from his War Images series (1958-1961). Both political series give insight to Mesches’s visions of historical events.
Within the gallery, Mesches’s paintings immediately stand out against the bright white walls with his signature use of vivid colors and graphics.
“I was very excited to learn that pieces by Mesches were coming to Hathaway” said Leila Sampson, a Georgia State University student and volunteer at Hathaway Gallery. “His death was a big loss to the art community, and it’s nice that his legacy lives on in Atlanta, even if it’s just for a minute.”
Pieces from Mesches’ Anomie series, such as The Emperor’s Way Nancy Reagan’s Dream, and True Blue are on display.
“Behind his colorful images are much deeper ideas about politics and social change. Anomie is a must-see collection,” Sampson said.
Students at Grady have greatly appreciated the showcases featured in the exhibit.
“I really enjoyed this exhibit, especially the Anomie collection,” Ashia Hill, a Grady junior, said. “‘Morgan Die Welt’ is my favorite piece out of the entire exhibit. The color scheme and details were really beautiful and fun to look at.”
Mesches’s life during the Great Depression and his knowledge of social and historical issues are reflected in his artwork. His work is permanently displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.
“I saw some of his pieces on display at the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) during a visit in New York and they really stood out to me among the others,” senior Camrin Beckman said. “I was happy when I heard about this exhibition from my art teacher, and I really enjoyed seeing more work by Mesches. It made me appreciate him as an artist more than I already did.”
Done with pen and black ink on paper, the War Images series tells a story through gestures and motion. The series expresses a desire to change the injustices one sees, and served as inspiration for some of Mesches’ paintings.
“His War Image series was my favorite to look at,” junior Lola Johnson said. “I draw a lot and it was interesting to look at his drawings and the story they tell.The way he uses negative space creates really striking pieces even though they’re small in size.”
On display through March, the exhibition features works praised by art critics nationwide and allows viewers a broader look into the perspective of a unique and politically-motivated artist.