Melinda Posey, assistant professor of art, displays her art in the Union University gallery and has been hard at work on a variety of art shows from installations to photography and graphic design. She still has previous work taking up space around her office. Her upcoming work will be her sixth exhibit in the span of a month.
She considers herself a “practicing artist,” so she puts on shows for professors just like the art students do.
“The way I process the world is through art,” Posey said. “I’ve always been interested in history and politics, so I like being able to process history. When seeing all of the old portraits of dictators who have killed millions of people, what happens when you take the dictation from the dictator?”
Both interests work their way into her recent work, which shows Charlie Chaplin in the film, The Great Dictator, in the scene of “The Final Speech”.
In her exhibit in Union’s gallery, a projector plays an old black-and-white film with a Hitler look-a-like featuring a weirdly cut mustache and a not-so-Nazi-like symbol on his sleeve.
The scene is on mute, a gold throne sits in the middle of the room with an ediphone to the right side, many silhouettes hang on the walls along with yellow drapings, and a typewriter is off to the side with typed sheets of paper. The typed sheets of paper were meant to symbolize what the actor is really saying in the scene.
“I’m taking the gallery space and making it my megaphone,” Posey said.
She wanted her audience to understand that the film and the small profiles of evil leaders in the past are put in different perspectives of power. Charlie Chaplin, who looks like Hitler, is silenced in the film and the audience has the freedom to put whatever words we want to his speech from how he was characterized. No one would know that the speech given was one about unity, but without someone writing it down, we would never know what they were really saying. Unlike the leaders of the past, who were not silenced and were not speaking in terms of union, have given people the notion that he was delivering a similar message.
“Her specific use of the silent film in the installation was clever as an eye-catching device,” said sophomore art major Josh Smith. “[She] discussed [that] without words, the speech is meaningless, and we can put whatever words we want to the film. Yet, she included the typed out speech and the old typewriter so you could read the speech and understand what he was saying. Now meaning and appearance are connected again.”
The gallery will be on display until Feb. 24.