Fire and Ice

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The Pop-Tart Whisperer
Feb 19, 2007
Southern New Jersey
from James A. Michener Art Museum: Fire and Ice: Marine Corps Combat Art from Afghanistan and Iraq

July 8 through October 21, 2007
Fred Beans Gallery, Doylestown
Sponsored by Segovia, Inc.
Fire and Ice: Marine Corps Combat Art from Afghanistan and Iraq presents Marine Warrant Officer Michael Fay's drawings and watercolors.

Marine Warrant Officer Michael Fay, a Reservist from Fredericksburg, Virginia, is one of only two active-duty combat artists currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. In an age of digital photography and embedded journalists, Fay continues a tradition of combat art that dates back to ancient times. Fay puts a human face to war as he cultivates art for its own sake, an activity which, in his words, serves as "one of the many ways the Marine Corps nurtures its devotion to the core values of our American republic."

Fay's drawings and watercolors depict Marines conducting their routine business in difficult and unfamiliar settings. The exhibition of more than 50 works created during two tours each in Afghanistan and Iraq is named Fire and Ice in response to the extremes faced during military service in the Middle East.

"My art articulates what is true and real about the actual experience of war and warriors," wrote Fay in a catalog of his work. "My intent, especially in view of current events, is to give people another experience of events, another insight as we all struggle to understand this unfolding drama called the War on Terrorism. It is also my hope that this experience, though grounded in realism, is more poetry than prose, and more art than journalism."

A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Fay studied briefly at the Philadelphia College of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and earned an undergraduate degree in Art Education from Penn State University. When not deployed overseas, the 53-year-old artist works at the Marine Corps Historical Division in Quantico, Virginia.

Fire and Ice is on view at The Michener at the same time as a complementary exhibit, Soldier, which highlights photographer Suzanne Opton's portraits of military men and women shortly after their return from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"These two powerful exhibitions present very different points of view about the experiences of our military," said Brian H. Peterson, Senior Curator at the Michener Art Museum. "One artist sees war from the inside—literally from the trenches—while the other artist contemplates the effects of war as etched in the faces of the returning warriors. Together, these insightful and heartfelt images remind us both of the reality of our wars and the humanity of those who are called upon to fight our wars."

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