Saturday, April 30, 2011

Joan of Art

David Versluis
A Collage piece from the “Icon Series”

Collage media: graphite, prismacolor, gold paint, colored paper, refuse printed material, and drawing on 22 x 30 BFK Rives Cream, 1980.
 From a private collection.

Photo credit:
 Joan Mondale attends the Department of Labor’s “Bread and Roses” event.
 Photograph Collection 1980, Location no. Walter F. Mondale Papers; Minnesota Historical Society, used with permission.

The basis for the “Icon” series was finding a small elm tree growing in one of the spiked holes of a concrete parking lot car bumper. And after pulling it out, its roots were bound tightly in a cylindrical form.

The passing of Geraldine Ferraro several weeks ago prompted me to think, among other things, about this piece once again.

This piece was one of several in the series, which was exhibited as part of a group show in the early 1980s at Bergsma Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This show was the first show in the gallery when it relocated in prominent commercial space in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Highlighting the opening reception was a surprise visit by Joan Mondale who was in town as a keynote speaker for a National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference. Mondale was the wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale who at that time was laying the foundation for the Democratic Party nomination for President. That evening she cordially greeted me as we shook hands and said, “I like your work,” for which I politely thanked her.

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