“George Gittoes: Witness to War”

Australian artist George Gittoes is at his creative best when he’s in danger. (He’s written, “If I get comfortable, the work will lose its sting.”) That’s why he’s set up temporary studios in Rwanda, Congo, Chechnya and other war-torn countries to paint, draw and film. He also keeps a multimedia, visual diary of his experiences and his response to the death and violence surrounding him.

While his work has enjoyed success on an international level, Gittoes hasn’t been seen much in the United States. Now he’s bringing his first major presentation to America with “Witness to War,” currently at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art. His recent work includes the 2009 documentary The Miscreants of Taliwood, filmed in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Visitors to “Witness to War” will see selections from his diaries and stills from Miscreants.

One multimedia piece is based on a photograph of the Pope surrounded by Muslim leaders, all of them deep in prayer. Side-by-side with the front page of a newspaper showing the photograph of the group, Gittoes’s drawing shows the men with huge hands folded in an exaggerated show of piety, making the gesture seem absurd. There’s also the painting Assumption, which shows dozens of blood-red, raw figures looking to the heavens, as they seem to be floating upward. But the figures are missing limbs, while body parts, also bloody and raw, are ascending with them.

There’s an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. April 16. Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. Through July 17. 1502 Alabama. For information, call 713-529-6900 or visit www.stationmuseum.com. Free.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 16. Continues through July 17, 2011


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