The MACC’s Fourth Annual Veterans Art Exhibition featured James Mellick’s Wounded Warrior Dogs along with the metal sculptures of artist and U.S. Air Force veteran Valentine Adams.
Mellick’s wooden sculptures served as an effective metaphor for the sacrifices made by humans in combat.The artist used cherry, poplar, sycamore, walnut and cedar to carve his seven life-sized dogs. An elaborate process of designing, laminating and finishing brought these animals to life. Works include a Doberman missing a foreleg, a German Shepherd with a prosthetic paw, and a Belgian Malinois with a metal plate. These are traumatizing injuries, to be sure, yet Mellick’s canines seem undaunted. It is a testament to the artist’s love and respect for these noble animals and the veterans they serve.
Adams, for his part, developed a healthy appreciation for good, old-fashioned machinery during his 23-year career in the U.S. Air Force. Not surprisingly, his artwork possesses a certain steampunk quality, with gears and gadgets fashioned into fantastical shapes. Metal art reminds Adams of a time when American consumers bought durable domestic goods. In that respect, his art serves as an apt critique of today’s disposal culture.