In Flanders Fields: A Meditation on War

In Flanders Fields
A Meditation On War

2009 – present
An ongoing installation of etching, sculpture and textiles, film, dance, poetry

The ravages of War, which I witnessed first hand as a child in Europe after World War II, and which I now see in the media as a ghastly array of horrors, have disabused me of sentimental patriotism. In making In Flanders Fields, I add my artist’s voice to the larger conversation on War. I contribute my version of the “scream”, convinced that waging war anywhere on Earth is always and forever wrong and can only perpetuate the delusional psychosis, the farce, and the horror show.

The famous poem, In Flanders Fields, written on a battlefield in Belgium in WWI by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, came to me fully memorized from grade school. (Many people have shared the same.) I adopted it as an emblem of all Wars and took its imagery as a unifying framework for the installation. Lt. Colonel John McCrae’s poignant words ride under and through all that you see here, except when they are the words of 5th century Greek playwright, Aristophanes. I have imagined McCrae’s dead soldiers engaged in conversation, one that transpires across centuries. They speak with the imperious and witty Lysistrata and her circle of enlightened women who, in their special feminine way, argue for an end to War.

Not a polemic, not a documentary, In Flanders Fields is, for me, symbolic action. If it is possible for a work of art to act as an agent for peace, then that is my hope.

- Fran Bull, Vermont 2016


IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.



We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.



If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918)

 

Printmaking In Flanders Fields

 
 

THE FALLEN ONES

2009 - 2010 ~ etching on Arches etching paper

 
 

LARKS

2009 - 2010 ~ etching on Arches etching paper

 
 

SEASON OF BONES

2009 ~ shaped acrylic plates, handmade paper

 
 

LONG MAY THEY WAVE

2009 - 2010 ~ Copperplate etching on handmade paper

 

Sculpture In Flanders Fields

 
 

GODS OF WAR

2011 ~ Wood, Styrofoam, Italian plaster and mixed media

 
 

POPPIES

2010 ~ Sculpture with Italian plaster and mixed media

 
 

THE FALLEN ONES

2009 - 2010 ~ Italian plaster and mixed media

 
 

LYSISTRATA AND HER CIRCLE

2009 ~ Italian plaster, muslin and mixed media

 
 

LARKS

2009 ~ wood, Paverpol and mixed media

 

Exhibitions In Flanders Fields

 
 

Chaffee Art Center Exhibition

Rutland, VT
2015

 
 

Christine Price Gallery

Castleton College, VT
2011

 
 

Woman Made Gallery

Chicago, Il
2010

 
 

Carving Studio
and Sculpture Center

Rutland, VT
2009