Fermi National Laboratory

One Year Later 9/11

This group exhibition gives voice to Illinois artists in response to the tragic events of 9/11/2001

The Exhibiting Artists Are:

John Diedrich, Melanie Diedrich, Jim Jenkins, Vincent Newkirk, Naomi Pridjian, Jeff Saad, George Turner, Fred Ullrich, Rosalie W. Vass, Laura Wasilowski, George Zamecki.

Artist Statements
Click thumbnails for larger images

Color Chips "Color Chips 2" by Laura Wasilowski
This piece is a collage of what I call "debris" or the aftermath of art making. It is created from cut away scraps of fabric too precious to discard but no longer large enough to handle. During the construction of Color Chips 2, I thought about what a common undertaking loss is and the act of gathering together and reuniting. No matter the loss we always come together, to embrace, to hold dear, to repair, to rebuild.

Innocents "Innocents" by Naomi M. Pridjian
I have always liked making things…the process of fashioning, shaping and giving form. Using the box as a basic structural unit, along with a variety of found and made objects and materials, I combine a typically benign exterior with a more complex interior to explore the interplay between heart/mind experience and contemporary, cultural power structures.

On September 11, 2001, I was deeply involved in the Inheritance Project, an exhibition of nine contemporary, Armenian-American artists whose "inheritance" includes the unrecognized Armenian Genocide of 1915-23. A fusion occurred for me on that day that would bring the past forward, taking with it all the wantonly murderous events of the powerful against the powerless and/or unwary, throughout the 20th century. It was only natural that I would make a box to express this.

War and Peace "War and Peace" by Vincent Newkirk
On the morning of September 11, I took part in a voluntary, evacuation of downtown Chicago. The train was crowded and silent. The ride was painfully slow. As we left the tall buildings behind us, you could hear the sighs of relief. My painting "War and Peace" is about the sorrow I feel for those who were most affected by the tragedy on that day and the desire for an end to the hostility that led to the events of 9/11/01. I can only hope that someday we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Waiting for Sunday "Waiting for Sunday" by Rosalie W. Vass
The events of 9/11 reinforced the need for prayer and brotherhood in most Americans. The terrorists were using the Koran as the basis for their acts of violence. Americans turned to their mosques, churches and synagogues to find peace and solace.

"Untitled Landscape", Les Fleurs du Mal" by George Turner
Untitled Landscape, Les Fleurs du Mal This painting started as an early spring landscape. The soil was thawing, microbes were awakening and one could smell the potential richness. The weather was unstable and all looked dramatic and beginning. It was a primordial moment. For some reason I collaged some pieces of a very violent comic book that I found extremely offensive and painted over them, leaving some imagery and color. In light of 9/11 and the following year, the image now takes on greater importance.

A storm blows the cover off the lurking presence of hate. How near to hell we might be without knowing it. Here there might be a natural ground of landscape unknowingly nurturing the flowers of evil. It is a small piece suggesting the presence of innocence and ruin, bliss and murder on this earth perhaps because people are here, and we are given choices. I choose not to read bad intent into the landscape, but the work of man is seen there, as is that desolate hole in New York City.

Washington MemorialChicago Skyline "Chicago Skyline" "Washington Monument" by Fred Ullrich
Over the past year I have often thought about how the events of 9/11 have changed my view of many photographic subjects. For example I have a greater respect and curiosity for skylines since last fall. In Chicago our skyline is strong and bright a symbol for all of us after 9-11. It is a view to be respected and acknowledged.

A mid-winter rain at the Washington mall this year suggested a mood for our national symbols during the weeks and months following 9/11, the monument shrouded in fog needing only the bright sun of a new day.

Fred has been making black and white photographs for over 30 years and has worked professionally in visual communication since 1975. His work is on display at 302 West and at Hansens café in Geneva, Illinois.

September 11 "September 11" by George Zamecki
My painting entitled September 11 represents my response to the events of September 11, 2001. I had started to paint this picture the same day, few hours after the attack. The painting was created very spontaneously. It was painted on an unfinished picture, which suddenly lost its significance. The perspective to see the world changed suddenly, so I painted the new outlook on the world. The colors and structure of the picture reflect the tragedy of this event.

The Sky is Blue without Two "The Sky is Blue without Two" by Jeff Saad
Painting a building, running late to work, so busy, been up late painting, phone rings, wife says, Did you hear? Turn on the TV, next, another one just hit, stopped painting, still went to work, time still went on, even though we are no longer with two. The sky was blue, the horizon will never look the same so many gone so many touched. Being Polish, Syrian, Lebanese, Scottish, German, English i.e. American, I could only wonder why.

The Permanence of Smoke "The Permanence of Smoke" by John and Melanie Diedrich
The Permanence of Smoke installation is a farmer's reflection on the crop year following 9-11-2001. I grow corn, soybeans and wheat to earn a living. The objects in this piece speak to me and for me. My life, as viewed from the seat of a tractor, is one of simple beauty, contemplation and impending chaos. I search for a comforting image to replace the smoke-filled memory of nine eleven. The creation of this piece has been an emotional journey that includes family, travel and music. I am deeply honored that I was asked to share my feelings in this exhibition.

Digging the Pit of BabelSquare Root of All EvilSkyline "Sculptures" by Jim Jenkins
Perhaps the events of September 11, 2001 will focus our collective intelligence in the pursuit of peace rather than war. It is my belief that we can only survive as a nation if we are able to show our strength through an alternative course of action. We must share our wealth, spirit and goodness for the betterment of humankind. This is not the first time a manmade disaster has been directed at a people. Violence is never the answer. As Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye makes us both blind". Hopefully we will see a way through this terrible event and find a way to improve the world.

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