Michael lives and works in the foothills of California outside of Los Angeles. In a studio he constructed himself, Aschenbrenner creates contemporary fine art glass works that have been exhibited nationally. A Vietnam veteran, Aschenbrenner’s works are a collective statement upon his experience as an injured veteran. In his “Damaged Bone Series,” an installation of wall sculptures made of glass and mixed media, Michael Aschenbrenner explores the fragility of the human body. Aschenbrenner served as a medical field technician during the Vietnam War and suffered a leg injury during the Tet Offensive. His work addresses the physical consequences of war and the trauma of human casualties. The sculptures are made of translucent glass bones, delicately attached by thin wires or carefully bound with rags and supported by wood splints. The reverence with which the bones are treated, as well as their deliberate presentation as relics, is a mute reminder of the transience of existence and the horror of the battlefield.
Daniel is a San Francisco-based artist whose current series depicts veterans adjusting to civilian life. The portraits reflect the tenor and intimacy of the conversations Bayless has with his subject while painting from life in his rooftop studio; some paintings show distance between the painter and subject, while others reveal warm vulnerability and an increased confidence created during the session. The series demonstrates how, in the making of an artwork, the artist, his subject, and the artist’s intended audience can all expand their understanding and develop empathy.
Wil is a Charlotte-based artist and a veteran of the US Army, where he served as a field artillery captain. His visceral Fire series evokes the intensity experienced by servicemen and women in war zones and invites the viewer to consider the impact of such intensity while transitioning from active service to civilian life. In contrast, Bosbyshell’s figure-drawing series Weight, which depicts figures struggling with large boulders, gently and carefully explores the emotional burdens of its subjects. Both series provide a window through which the viewer can explore and empathize with the experience of others. Bosbyshell earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.
Paula Kranz Broadwell
Paula is the co-founder and director of the Think Broader Foundation, as well as a writer, academic and former military officer. She served in the US Army on active and reserve duty for over 20 years, with academic and intelligence experience in more than 70 countries. Broadwell’s foundation has partnered with Wheelhouse Media Foundation to produce a series of “empathy experiences” using virtual reality film production. Her virtual reality film for this exhibition will focus on the experience of daily life for veterans, with the goal of creating understanding and increasing sensitivity.
Drew is a second-generation hand papermaker, trained forester and former Army soldier. Cameron co-founded the Combat Paper Project and has been facilitating workshops with veterans and the community in which they transform military uniforms into handmade paper, prints, books and art since 2007. The portable workshop has reached thousands of people throughout the country in 29 states and more than 125 workshops. The Combat Paper Project transforms military uniforms into handmade paper. The project is founded on the belief that in this simple yet enduring premise, the plant fiber in rags can be transformed into paper. A uniform worn through military service carries with it stories and experiences that are deeply imbued in the woven threads. Creating paper and artwork from these fibers carries these same qualities. Cameron has found that all of us are connected to the military in a myriad of ways. When these connections are discovered and shared it can open a deeper understanding between people and expand our collective beliefs about military service and war.
Cameron’s work is represented in 33 public collections and has been shown numerous times including at the Corcoran Gallery, Courtauld Institute, Library of Congress, Museum of Contemporary Craft and Craft and Folk Art Museum among others. Combat Paper is now operating in four locations: New York, New Jersey, Nevada and California, with open and ongoing programming. Cameron is based in San Francisco at Shotwell Paper Mill and continues to teach and practice papermaking.
Suje is a Charlotte-based Artist and Navy veteran who seeks to find a deep connection through cultural dialog and social exchanges by engaging communities through conversations and artistic practices. His interests lie with investigations, deconstructions and studies of cultural heritages. Here one can embrace the literal qualities as much as the empirical qualities of an art object. After service in the US military, which includes two wars and several deployments throughout the world, the necessity of production became an important consideration for his works development and existence. Perceptions play a major role within the military as it relates to camouflage, disguise, and interpretation, which also help to understand life, particularly artistic process and creation.
Suje’s work is inspired by the numerous diverse experiences that have taken place throughout his life. Interested in the layers of life that can be explored through multisensory experiences, the constant change in life permits a poetic harmony for him, allowing beauty in all things horrible and wonderful. With this, life itself does not exist by one thing; rather it exists by a meta-narrative of many things. Through his work and constant awe of the capacity of the human condition, he learns new understandings of our complex ways of life.
Speaking with a somewhat peripheral perspective, Garcia will exhibit his work “114” – an installation of silkscreened images on 12” records of those he loves surrounded by a larger formation of military boots. A metaphor to the ongoing military force protecting the ones we love almost beyond our visual scope off in the distance. Garcia will also perform his audience participatory “Last Letters” for the Charlotte Millennial Art Program (CLTMAP) event asking others to write down their last letters to their loved ones, mimicking the practice of soldiers writing their last letters when death was near on the frontlines.
CreatiVets is a hands-on, veteran-run program that offers opportunities of relief and healing for disabled veterans who are coping with service-related trauma. The program uses various forms of art, including songwriting, visual arts, music and creative writing, to foster self-expression in a way that allows attendees to transform their stories of trauma and struggle into an art form that can inspire and motivate continued healing. Sessions are focused creating an environment in which the veteran feels safe, and then providing an expressive medium that does not threaten that feeling of safety.
Creative art form programs have proven effective in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), reducing the severity of depression that often accompanies PTSD and improving the quality of life for veterans and their family members. Over the last two decades, researchers and clinicians have found the relief and healing provided by expressive writing, music and art is possible because these forms of expression do not necessitate exposure to the facts of the trauma, and also allow the individual to avoid the stigma of receiving mental health treatment.
Susie Films is a full-service media company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and operates across the United States and occasionally overseas with a focus on meaningful storytelling. The company has produced four award-winning documentaries, thousands of hours of television content, and the 100 Words Film Festival, where every film is exactly 100 words long. For the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art exhibition, under the supervision of Scott Galloway, Susie Films is developing a film centered on Charlotte-based Navy veteran Mary Wilson, who is navigating the challenges of returning to civilian life. This film will be donated to Veterans Bridge Home for their use at the close of the exhibition.