posted October 2, 2008

Gallery to Feature Oliphant Cartoons and Sculptures

Hope College will feature the exhibition "Leadership: Oliphant Cartoons and Sculpture from the Bush Years" in the gallery of the De Pree Art Center from Friday, Oct. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 22.

There will be an opening reception featuring artist Patrick Oliphant at the gallery on Friday, Oct. 17, from 5 p.m. to 7 pm.

The public is invited to both the reception and the exhibition.  Admission is free.

This exhibit features the work of one of the greatest political cartoonists. Australian-born Patrick Oliphant, world-renowned for his fearless, caustic portrayals for America's most prominent peoples and events, will be showing cartoons, sketches, oversized caricatures, and sculptures in bronze and wax.

Oliphant uses traditional artistic devices, like caricature and hierarchy of size, to illustrate a complex variety of ideas. The "bad" characters of his cartoons are huge with the "flesh of pride, the obesity of power" (P.J. O'Rourke). The "good" are small, often seen conversing with the wise and ironic "Punk" the penguin. Punk represents the voice of reason, that which should inspire our actions as we watch the events in Washington unfold. The good characters are often out of action, inviting the uncertainty of whether this detachment is by choice or consequence.

Designed to correspond with the U.S. presidential election, the show will invite the members of the audience to reflect on their current political choices. The exhibition focuses on the Bush administration, but also includes images of the current candidates and past administrations.

James Billington of the Library of Congress wrote, "Editorial cartoons are part of the political discourse of our democratic society...  We recognize these as enduring contributions whether the particular message pleases us or not...  Pat Oliphant is such a master."

The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The regular gallery hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Gallery hours may be reduced during breaks and holidays. The gallery is handicapped accessible.