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Elissa Levy: Of secrecy, the violet


  • Visual Arts Center 1812 West Main Street Richmond, VA, 23220 United States (map)

New York City-based artist Elissa Levy, showcases her experimentation with a variety of materials and techniques that blur mediums and genres. Levy presents prints, collages and sculpture using materials ranging from fabric and leather to aluminum.

At the heart of the exhibition is Violet Gibson, a distant relative of Levy’s whose religious fervor led her to attempt to assassinate Benito Mussolini in 1926. Levy layers historical sources—including media reports of Gibson’s crime and documents used as evidence against her—with associative images such as her namesake flowers, violets. Alongside and occasionally woven into Gibson’s story, Levy presents a seemingly disparate thread: the political fall and resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1974, also seen through the lens of contemporaneous reports. Long interested in media representation (often sampled from the day’s newspapers), here Levy plays with events of the recent past to explore how media shapes the perception, fates, and legacies of those whose private lives unfold in the public eye.

This solo exhibition, guest curated by Lauren Ross, marks the culmination of a Quirk+VisArts Artist-In-Residence Program undertaken over the course of spring and summer 2018. New work is being made by the artist in collaboration with Richmond teaching artists and fabricators, including local laser engraving studio, BIG SECRET.

Earlier Event: September 5
Lecture: Erica Armstrong Dunbar