‘V for Victory” on display through Feb. 26 in Overbook Gallery

The Roof is on Fire work by Melissa Vandenberg

Melissa Vandenberg's "Sink or Swim"

Melissa Vandenberg’s “Sink or Swim”

“V for Victory,” an exhibit of both two and three-dimensional works by multidisciplinary artist and educator Melissa Vandenberg, is now on display through Feb. 26 in the Muskegon Community College Overbrook Art Gallery.

A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Overbook Gallery. During the reception, her work Life Vest for Lovers & Haters will be performed. Vandenberg will discuss the exhibition at 6:30 pm, in Stevenson Center room 1100. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Arts and Humanities Department at (231) 777-0324.

“V for Victory” borrows its title from a World War II campaign instigated by the Belgian BBC as a rally cry against Nazi proliferation. The symbol, a “V” hand gesture, spread throughout Europe–even to the hands of Winston Churchill. This is the same gesture that would eventually evolve into the peace symbol during the Vietnam War.

“The title, for the purposes of this exhibition, is meant to inspire political contemplation and potentially action, regardless of partisanship,” explained Vandenberg. “The exhibition includes a combination of drawings created by burning matches on paper and a series of soft sculptures, including several wall pieces constructed from mid-century Kapok life vests. The majority of imagery is intended as a metaphor for power, fear and mortality.”

An associate professor of art and foundations director at Eastern Kentucky University, Vandenberg was born and educated in Detroit.

Her studio practice explores national identity, folk art, ancestry, immigration and the perception of a homeland through everyday materials like fabric, stickers, wood, temporary tattoos, paper and found objects. Her work has been exhibited in Michigan, Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, California, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado and New York.

She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from College for Creative Studies in Detroit and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Vandenberg has received several grants, including a Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grant and the Al Smith Fellowship in Kentucky. The artist is represented by beta pictoris galley in Birmingham, AL.