* all images property of Jeff Phegley (www.jeffphegley.com)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Painting on view at Coos Art Museum

My painting entitled Bastogne is currently on display in the Bay Area Artists Association Regional Juried Exhibition. The show will be on view at the Coos Art Museum through February 16, 2008. The work can also be viewed online at:
Coos Art Museum

Bastogne was completed in 2007 and incorporates an old Pepsi crate as the frame for the work. The oil painting is composed on 11 raised panels within the Pepsi crate. The painting was inspired by the Siege of Bastogne, a significant World War II battle which took place in the city of Bastogne, located in the Southeast corner of Belgium. The battle was an important Allied success amidst the larger Battle of the Bulge, in which the Allies were victorious in holding off the western advancing German Army. I was fortunate enough to visit the battlefields and memorial in early 2007 and was very shocked to learn of the severe cold conditions in which the Americans and the Germans had to fight. This work is about a veteran (Allied or German) returning to the site of the battlefield and reflecting on those events.

The Bastogne Mardasson Memorial is an impressive site which was dedicated to the US by the Belgian citizens in 1950. The memorial can be seen from several miles away as it situated on a grassy hill surrounded by lower lying pastures. Approaching the stone memorial, 250 feet in diameter and 40 feet in height, you feel as if you are at the National Mall in Washington DC. A large structure devoted to US servicemen seems completely out of place overlooking the small Belgian city of Bastogne. Once you grasp the significance of the Siege (both in the loss of human life and in what was at stake militarily) it is easy to experience a swell of emotion and realize how incredibly different the world would be if the German Army had succeeded here. At the top of the memorial you are graced with an amazing panoramic view of the peaceful countryside of Bastogne. Flat bronze markers on the top of the monument contain battle descriptions in relief as well as arrows pointing towards the various battlefields within sight of the memorial.