These paintings depict what happens in war-torn areas

Steve Mumford - The Prayer, 2016, oil on linen, 121.9x152.4cm
Steve MumfordThe Prayer, 2016, oil on linen, 121.9×152.4cm

Many artists often find that they have to immerse themselves in the landscapes and the environment that they paint. This not only helps when capturing the true essence of the subjects to be featured in the art, but it also helps the artist gain a deeper understanding of the subjects in regards to their feelings, emotions, and opinions.

Steve Mumford knows all too well the sacrifices that are required to produce work that speaks to people. Since 2003, Mumford has traveled severally to Afghanistan and Iraq to capture various war-torn regions in his paintings and drawings. Although contemporary art often addresses various political issues in a subtle manner, it is not often that an entire collection is based solely on the engagement with war. Mumford has produced drawings and images from dangerous hot spots such as Baghdad, Tikrit and Baquba.

The War Paintings comprises primarily of a collection of field drawings that feature watercolor and gouache sketches. Over his numerous visits, Mumford worked in areas ranging from dangerous war zones to populated communities. Through his observations, Mumford managed to sensitively paint portraits of the land, its people and the complex socio-political circumstance faced by both opposing sides. The paintings are straightforward and unedited depictions of what happens in war-torn areas.

When setting up each scene, it appears that Mumford paid serious attention to detail; however, although his works are based on factual events, they also expose hints of personal bias and narrative that is held in check by the actual images. As such, although Mumford’s opinions come through the paintings, his bias does not affect the power that the images have.

For instance, his drawings of Guantanamo radiate and echo a journalist’s frustration at some of the barriers and censorships that make his work difficult. And yet, the moments in the paintings continue to feel real and accurate. Many of the watercolor paintings reference the strict regulations that were given to him with some of the silhouettes bearing markings such as classified, redacted or permitted view. These subtle remarks allow Mumford to communicate his cynicism about not being able to fully capture his subjects, many of whom were prisoners.

Mumford’s paintings give a sense of what the situation is like because the images displayed in the media are often over sensationalized in a manner that does not paint the true picture of the situation. His deep respect for military service is evident, as are his feelings about the effects of war on the soldiers that have to fight and the people that have to live through the fighting.

Steve Mumford - Anbar, 2016, oil on linen, 152.4x243.8cm
Steve MumfordAnbar, 2016, oil on linen, 152.4×243.8cm

Steve Mumford - Anbar (detail), 2016, oil on linen, 152.4x243.8cm
Steve MumfordAnbar (detail), 2016, oil on linen, 152.4×243.8cm

Steve Mumford - Crossed Swords Monument , 2016, oil on canvas, 91.4x182.9cm
Steve MumfordCrossed Swords Monument, 2016, oil on canvas, 91.4×182.9cm

Steve Mumford - War Story, 2016, oil on canvas, 50.8x50.8cm
Steve MumfordWar Story, 2016, oil on canvas, 50.8×50.8cm

Steve Mumford - Waiting, 2009, oil on linen, 135.9x136.2cm
Steve MumfordWaiting, 2009, oil on linen, 135.9×136.2cm

Steve Mumford - Afghan Soldier, 2016, oil on canvas, 61x61cm
Steve MumfordAfghan Soldier, 2016, oil on canvas, 61x61cm

Steve Mumford - Large IED, 2009, oil on linen, 45.7x91.4cm
Steve MumfordLarge IED, 2009, oil on linen, 45.7×91.4cm

Steve Mumford - A patrol from 1st Cav 4:9 checks in with Iraqi checkpoints throughout Haifa Street and Khark in Baghdad in 2007, 2007; ink, watercolor and gouache on paper
Steve MumfordA patrol from 1st Cav 4/9 checks in with Iraqi checkpoints throughout Haifa Street and Khark in Baghdad in 2007, 2007, ink, watercolor and gouache on paper

Steve Mumford - Trisha and Brian at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, 2016, oil on canvas, 304.8x487.7cm
Steve MumfordTrisha and Brian at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, 2016, oil on canvas, 304.8×487.7cm

Steve Mumford - Duel, 2005, oil on linen, 122x122cm
Steve MumfordDuel, 2005, oil on linen, 122x122cm

Steve Mumford - Capt. Calvin Allen, 16 Engineers, 1st Armored Division, receives therapy to his wounded hand at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 2006. Ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper
Steve MumfordCapt. Calvin Allen, 16 Engineers, 1st Armored Division, receives therapy to his wounded hand at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 2006, ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper

Steve Mumford - 2:4:13, Pretrial hearing for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm
Steve Mumford2/4/13, Pretrial hearing for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

Steve Mumford - 2:6:13, Camp X-Ray, Interrogation huts disused since April 2002 (reportedly), Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm
Steve Mumford2/6/13, Camp X-Ray, Interrogation huts disused since April 2002 (reportedly), Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

Steve Mumford - Target practice, 1st Platoon Charlie Battery at FOB Warhorse, Baquabah, July 2004, 2004, Ink on paper, 31x40.5cm
Steve MumfordTarget practice, 1st Platoon Charlie Battery at FOB Warhorse, Baquabah, July 2004, 2004, Ink on paper, 31×40.5cm

Steve Mumford - 5:17:13, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm 2
Steve Mumford5/17/13, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

Steve Mumford - 5:17:13, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm
Steve Mumford5/17/13, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

Steve Mumford - Far from relaxed, 2010; pencil and watercolor on paper
Steve MumfordFar from relaxed, 2010, pencil and watercolor on paper

Steve Mumford - A patrol from India Co, 3:6 Marines get a visit from a couple of tough old Afghans, possibly Taliban themselves, 2010; ink, watercolor and gouache on paper
Steve MumfordA patrol from India Co, 3/6 Marines get a visit from a couple of tough old Afghans, possibly Taliban themselves, 2010, ink, watercolor and gouache on paper

Steve Mumford - 5:16:13 Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm
Steve Mumford5/16/13 Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

Steve Mumford - 2:7:13, Tour of Camp 6 - Rec area for detainees, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 35x45.7cm
Steve Mumford2/7/13, Tour of Camp 6 – Rec area for detainees, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, , 2013, ink and wash on paper, 35×45.7cm

Steve Mumford - 2:6:13, NM CB 2-7 Sailors, Nightfall Camp Justice. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba , 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34x46.7cm
Steve Mumford2/6/13, NM CB 2-7 Sailors, Nightfall Camp Justice. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2013, ink and wash on paper, 34×46.7cm

 

You might also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*