A! Magazine for the Arts

 FL3TCH3R exhibit features socially conscious art "Companions 8" by Deborah Rockman is part of the FL3TCH3R Exhibit.

FL3TCH3R exhibit features socially conscious art "Companions 8" by Deborah Rockman is part of the FL3TCH3R Exhibit.

FL3TCH3R exhibit features socially conscious art

October 26, 2016

Reece Museum is abuzz with statements. Its gallery is filled with artists' representations of violence, inequity, tragedy, identity, abuse, misuse and illness. Eyes plead. Mirrors watch. Material and words tell their sad and brave stories and struggles.

The fourth annual FL3TCH3R Exhibit at ETSU's Reece Museum contains 63 pieces of socially and politically charged visual artwork open for viewing through Dec. 19. The FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art was established in 2013 by art professor Wayne Dyer, Barbara Dyer and Carrie Dyer in memory of their son and brother, Fletcher, an ETSU bachelor of fine arts senior in graphic design who passed away in 2009 at age 22 in a motorcycle accident.

"Fletcher was the kind of person who liked to push you and push boundaries," Wayne Dyer says. "He was pushing people's buttons all the time. He couldn't understand why his friends weren't more concerned about what was going on in the world around them."

As a result, the FL3TCH3R multinational juried exhibit focuses on work with strong social and/or political content and "should reflect current issues that affect contemporary culture and investigate societal and political concerns." The exhibit also helps fund the annual Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship for an ETSU art and design student.

Spenser Brenner, exhibits coordinator for Reece Museum, has worked with three of the four FL3TCH3R exhibitions, and he says this year's selections are particularly powerful. "This exhibit unapologetically forces us to face society's flaws and norms," Brenner says. "It forces us to start a conversation that many of us find easy to ignore.

While visual statements on gun and race issues are most prevalent in the year's exhibit selections, the topics they offer for conversation include gender, identity, refugees, environment, elitism, capitalism, bullying, sexual violence, child abuse, oppression, faith, patriotism, war, prescription drugs, health care, women's rights, food waste, identity theft and AIDS, Ebola and Zika.

2016 exhibit juror Dr. Eric Avery notes in his statement that Fletcher Dyer was known to "rattle cages, making innovative and experimental work that exposed social and political problems. He wanted his art to improve society and quality of life."

This year's FL3TCH3R Exhibit offered the "rare opportunity," Avery says, "for artists to submit art for an exhibition that says, "Go for it, speak truth to power, upset our closed systems of meaning and control and help us sort it out."

For more information about Fletcher Dyer, visit http://fletcherdyer.com/about.html. For more information about the exhibit, visit http://www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com and for Reece Museum, visit www.etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392.