Spectrum Best in Show winner addresses timely issues
Foreclosure is the theme of the mixed media by Donald Axleroad which has just won the Best in Show Award in Spectrum, the annual juried competition of the New Canaan Society for the Arts, on exhibition through June 12 at the Carriage Barn Arts Center.
Axleroad, who is known for using symbols from Greek mythology to portray the struggles of modern man, titled his work "The Greed of Cerberus." The image of Cerberus, the three headed dog who guards the proverbial "Gates of Hell" in ancient mythology, hovers over several homes bearing "Forclo$ure signs, "alluding to the greed of many financial institutions which fostered the massive run of foreclosures throughout America, leaving many people homeless and disurupting the lives of many other families," Axleroad said.
"I am surprised I have not seen more work on this subject," juror Paul Clabby, curator and director of the John Slade Ely House, Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven said. "Here is an artist addressing a major issue of our time."
A Stamford artist who has won many regional and national awards, Axleroad is engaged in reviving the traditions of past artists who have depicted the plight of those less fortunate; from America's Ben Shahn and his portrayals of the Great Depression to Goya's renderings of the Spanish Inquisition and German Expressionists such as Ludwig Kirchner who satirized the vice and moral corruption of Berlin under Hitler and Edward Munch who depicted the psychological angst of many victims in "The Scream."
Foreclosure is a new theme for Axleroad, who, in recent years has developed a body of work inspired by "The Human Condition," in which he calls attention to the challenges of aging and the plight of Alzheimer's victims. As in tales of of the tragic heroes of Greek mythology, modern man is also challenged by forces beyond his control.
"There are a lot of things happening now -- the prevalence of divorce and broken families and the widening gap between the rich and the poor," Axleroad said. "I like to show the plight of people who have difficulty in speaking for themselves."