With titles like "The Christian Addiction," "Inoculation" and "Killjoy," artist Megan Asire, who goes by La Mer, hopes to evoke emotion with her work. But she never expected the reaction she got from one patron over the weekend.
Someone took down 65 of the 75 pieces being exhibited at the Brewery Arts Center, causing slight damage to four of them, after several parents and children said the works were inappropriate for an area where children could see them. Several of her works contain images of violence and sexuality.
"A few of the parents expressed some concern about a couple of the pieces and then one person took down most of the art over the weekend," said Chris Willson, program director for the Brewery Arts Center. "We have spoken with the group that was here and told them that nobody but employees of the center or the artist has the authority to do that and we will speak with the individual as well. We have also worked with the artist to maybe take down some of the pieces at her discretion."
Asire said that while she was shocked that someone would take down her work, she wasn't upset.
"I found it rather entertaining that it got someone so emotional that they took it down. That's what I try to do with my art, I want to provoke an emotion, no matter if it is good, bad or ugly," said the 16-year-old Asire.
Because of her use of religious symbols, Asire said some people see her works as anti-Christian, something she said is not true.
"They might think these works are anti-Christian or pornographic or violent but I believe it's not about the content of the art, but about the quality and the meaning. I grew up around this stuff in art. I grew up knowing that if it was in art it's OK if it represents something or means something to the artist," she said.
Asire said it's important to be exposed to a variety of images and ideas, especially through art.
"If parents shelter their kids from this, (children) are still going to be exposed to it and they can rebel," said Asire.
The pieces in her exhibit titled "The Coma and the Horrible Hearts" include a drawing of Jesus on the cross with his face covered with red paint and a scantily clad woman striking a pose.
"I titled it that way because I like the idea of the horrible hearts and because there are people who live there lives in a coma, only caring what goes on in their own little world. I know a lot of people who aren't like that, but I know a lot of people who are," said Asire.
Asire's exhibit opened Nov. 5 and will be on display through Dec. 3.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.