A collection of art by three Vietnam War veterans is on display at the Grantsville City Library.
The Utah Arts and Museums’ traveling exhibit, “Vietnam Veterans: Art Beyond Combat,” opened at the library on March 12 and will continue through April 23.
The exhibit features the work of Dan Maynard, Carl Purcell and John Steele. All three artists served in the Vietnam War.
Each artist had a different perspective on returning from the war. The art displayed shows each artist’s individual perspectives about the war and the country itself.
The works in the exhibit show images of war, peace and healing.
Maynard started to take his art seriously after his wife encouraged him. Although he initially focused on the people and landscapes of the Western U.S., he eventually began drawing scenes of combat he experienced in Vietnam. While drawing those scenes, he can hear, see, and even taste the combat as he remembers it. His works don’t glorify or beautify fighting, but illustrate it in all of its gritty realism
Purcell served as an interrogator for the Air Force, including a year in Vietnam. The fatalistic views of the North Vietnamese soldiers perplexed him, so when he returned he chose to focus on moving forward with his art and his life. His paintings of rural barns, sheds and fences reflect the balance between future promises and forgotten dreams, while a lifelong interest in geology allows him to not only see but hear the rhythms of the earth through centuries of strata.
Steele, like many soldiers, documented his time in Vietnam through a camera, but only later in life did he begin to pursue photography as art, an interest sparked by wild horses. Eventually he returned to Vietnam, and during his four visits, came to an understanding of the country as well as his own personal feelings about the war.
The Art Beyond Combat exhibition was made possible by a grant from WETA, the PBS producing station.
Utah Arts and Museums’ traveling exhibit is a statewide outreach program that provides schools, museums, libraries and community galleries with the opportunity to bring curated exhibitions to their community. The program is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Utah Arts & Museums is a division of the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (DHA). To enrich the quality of life for the people of Utah, DHA creates, preserves, and promotes heritage and the arts.
The Grantsville Library is located at 42 N. Bowery Street. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The library is closed Sundays.