Vanessa German at ARThouse, Homewood, Pittsburgh. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Brian Cohen

Vanessa German: Miracles And Glory Abound

January 27, 2019 - April 20, 2019

Henry Gallery

This exhibition explores the power of stories. How do tales that pass from generation to generation change with each retelling? How do the alterations of truth affect our understanding of history and shape current ideologies? 

When the story of George Washington leading Continental army soldiers across the Delaware River on December 25, 1776 is told, most Americans think of the painting depicting an heroic Washington standing in a small, crowded boat thrusting forward through icy water. The large Emanuel Leutze painting (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City) has been reproduced in history books, adorned classroom walls, and illustrated the story of that fateful winter night for more than 150 years. Despite its iconic status, Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) contains many visual fabrications, mythologizing rather than portraying an accurate retelling of the historical incident. 

Miracles and Glory Abound draws from both the visual and emotional concept of the iconic painting. Using her own power-figures to imitate Leutze’s composition, Vanessa German creates a conversation about public memory and the rewriting of history through the lens of privilege. The exhibition explores the complicated, nuanced history of the United States and how that history relates to our current suffering in the echoes of violence, hate, and materialism.

From the Exhibition

  • Vanessa German, American, b. 1977. oh for the healing of the blues, 2016. Mixed media assemblage. 73 x 26 x 44” (185.4 x 66 x 111.7 cm). Collection of the Figge Art Museum, Davenport; museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Art Acquisition Fund and Linda and J. Randolph Lewis, 2017.27.1. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY

  • Vanessa German, American, b. 1977. we are the animals are us, 2017. Mixed media assemblage. 81 x 48 x 36" (205.7 x 121.9 x 91.4 cm). Figge Art Museum, Davenport; museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Art Acquisition Fund and Linda and J. Randolph Lewis, 2017.27.2. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY

  • Vanessa German, American, b. 1977. No Water Cleanser, 2016. Mixed-media assemblage. 75 x 32 x 20 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, and gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, by exchange, gift of Mr. Harold Frank, by exchange, 2017.53

  • Vanessa German, American, born 1977. We Go This Way; Let Us Dance, 2018. Mixed-media assemblage. 97 x 39 x 42 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Heather Mull

  • Vanessa German, American, born 1977. LaQuisha Washington Crosses the Day Aware, 2018. Mixed-media assemblage. 126 x 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Heather Mull

  • Vanessa German, American, born 1977. Prototype for Miracles and Glory Abound, 2018. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Heather Mull