Decatur Gallery Showcases Activist Artists
ArtsWorks Make Statements

Decatur Gallery Showcases Activist Artists

Eben Dunn and Flora Rosefsky are among the first exhibitors at Different Trains Gallery in Decatur.

Kevin C. Madigan

Kevin Madigan is a senior reporter for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Flora Rosefsky (right) discusses one of her pieces at the Different Trains Gallery opening. (Photo by Kevin C. Madigan)
Flora Rosefsky (right) discusses one of her pieces at the Different Trains Gallery opening. (Photo by Kevin C. Madigan)

A new art gallery opened over the Memorial Day weekend in Decatur, and among its inaugural exhibitors are two local artists who have a few things in common yet remain distinct from each other.

Works by Eben Dunn and Flora Rosefsky, both Jewish and based in Atlanta, are being shown at the Different Trains Gallery, a space dedicated to multiple art forms at 432 E. Howard Ave.

Both artists often integrate objects and symbols into their pieces as a commentary on the state of the world.

This Eben Dunn piece, on display at Different Trains Gallery, tells the story of the civil rights movement.

“There are images all over them (that) are collaged together,” Dunn told the AJT. “I use books, Bibles sometimes, historical photographs, and then compose those objects over time, overlaying them on text that means something, so they juxtapose off each other.”

One of his pieces hanging at Different Trains depicts the civil rights movement, with pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and other figures of the 1960s superimposed over scenes of turmoil in the streets within a giant peace sign.

Dunn worked with Atlanta real estate mogul Steve Selig in the 1990s before abandoning real estate and becoming a full-time artist. He shares a studio in Inman Park with “a pretty famous painter,” Fahamu Pecou.

Eben Dunn layers images upon text in his collages.

“For me, I feel I have to make things. It’s a way for me to get balance with the world around me because I can express what I’m feeling and my interactions with the world, which is a bit crazy right now. It helps me make sense of it, convey emotions, reach into the hurricane and call out the important moments in time,” Dunn said.

Rosefsky shares certain motifs with Dunn yet retains her singularity.

“I like using found objects in my work, such as keys. Keys can be very symbolic of things, like the vulnerability of life,” she said during a visit to her Decatur studio.

A committee member of Arts & Activism, Rosefsky has created numerous pieces on the concept of human trafficking. “I did a whole series on this theme,” she said. “I took hairpins and stretched them; they became these forms sticking into circles, like being trapped. Some of my pieces are very conceptual, emotional; others are more literal.”

Flora Rosefsky, showing some of the work in her studio, says art doesn’t always need a message.

One of her works in progress was named “Boundaries,” but now she wants to alter it in reference to the current occupant of the White House. “It had a theme, but I’m going to change it and create a more political piece. The new piece could maybe be called ‘Unhinged.’ It’s such a polarized country right now. … It’s scary. Today, in the political climate, a lot of artists, not just me, are asking, ‘What can we do?’ ”

Rosefsky said she hopes her themes are universal. “Some of it is very much Judaic work, but it doesn’t matter if you come from a Jewish background or a Hindu one. Art has to stand by itself as a good piece of art, no matter what the message is. And sometimes they don’t have a message, which is OK too.”

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