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MFA candidate launches exhibition to honor children slain in Connecticut school shooting

Friday, January 04, 2013

Leslie Love Stone, MFA candidate in Claremont Graduate University's School of Arts, Humanities, and Religion, has created 20 paintings to honor the 20 children who died in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012.

An exhibition of these works, They Fill MPainting by Leslie Stone as part of her exhibition called They Fill My Eyesy Eyes: a tribute to the children of Newtown, will be on display from Jan. 5-31 at the Mosaic Gallery, 281 S. Thomas Street in Pomona. An artist’s reception will take place during Pomona’s monthly Art Walk on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Using colors derived from the wildflower Myosotis arvensis (Forget-Me-Not) and a geometric numbering system, each piece is painted with Flashe on a 10" x 10" wood panel and conveys data initially released about the children to news outlets.

Each painting is dedicated to a specific child. The color on each indicates whether the child is a boy or girl. The number of colored segments reflects the child's age. The overall number of segments are placed in eight triangular sections from left to right, top to bottom, and show the child's birthdate.

"When the news first broke about the shootings I really tried to avoid listening to media coverage. It often seems we have a way of focusing on perpetrators over victims," Stone said. "But when they released the names two days later I thought, 'I can give attention to this; I can bear witness to this.' I opened the article and saw that it was not a celebration of the lives of 20 children. It was a database listing name, birthdate, gender, and age. In that moment, I knew I had to process the information with art."

The exhibition's title is a line taken from the Marmalade song, "Reflections of My Life."

Stone is a conceptual painter whose work often focuses on the models people build to make sense of the world and themselves. She uses geometry to abstract and reanimate statistical data.

The Mosaic Gallery is a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing art to the community. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

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