Art Profile: Artist David Hess Gets His Gun at the Kohl


In a world where we wake to news headlines like Sunday’s “3-year-old shoots dad, pregnant mom” and January’s “TSA find record number of firearms in carry-on bags,” while we still ache from the Sandy Hook school killings, the argument over gun rights and gun control continues to be one of the hottest and most contested social and political issues of the last 40 years.

The word “gun” alone can send one reaching for the Constitution, another to a gun control rally, while another heads off to the closest gun shop in fear that the government conspires to take away guns from every gun owner in America.

David Hess'”Gun Show” exhibit, opening this Thursday, February 5, at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery, hopes to continue that very dialogue via his “guns,” 80 sculpture-assemblages shaped into weapon lookalikes and constructed from commonly found items like vacuum cleaner parts and gas station pump nozzles.

Hess is clear about not wanting to vilify anyone in the argument, and sees art as a portal to continue talking about this complex facet of U.S. society.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, David Hess majored in Visual Studies and studied with realist wood sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, whose humor and precision made a strong impression on him. His large-scale work often explores elements poised precariously on the verge of movement and challenging gravity and physics. Among his best-known works is “Bird’s Nest,” an award-winning piece of twisted stainless steel that clings to the brick façade of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and functions as a balcony. His work is also housed in numerous private and public collections, including Thurgood Marshall Airport and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Kohl Gallery show is the first stop on a “Gun Show” tour that also will visit UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County), American University, and other higher-ed venues. The Gallery, which is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts on the Washington College campus, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. “Gun Show” will be on exhibit through March 6, 2015.

For more information on artist David Hess visit here

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