One doesn’t have to have been in combat to understand the feelings of those who have and returned home, Spartanburg artist Kate Frost believes.
She wants viewers of her latest art exhibition to understand that, too. Frost’s “Welcome Home” exhibit of her screen prints engraved on plaster will be on display April 6 through May 1 in Gallery III at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg at 578 W. Main St. An opening reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 9.
“I hope people feel a connection when viewing the exhibition,” says Frost, a guest artist of the Artists Collective. “I think all human beings can connect with each other in some ways. Our stories and experiences are different, but we can still connect. For example, I have no experience in combat, but I can relate to the feeling of being out of control of my own body like one veteran told me he felt.”
America’s troops come home to a place where they are left to fall through the cracks, Frost says. “We celebrate that our troops are finally home from the war, however, that doesn’t mean the war didn’t follow. The baggage, weight and physical injuries that combat veterans carry back home can restrain them from being free from their past. For years they can try to push back the many visions of pain, suffering and violence they witnessed and endured.”
Using plaster and different printmaking techniques, Frost’s works in “Welcome Home” “magnifies veterans’ personal stories and embodies the emotions and the situations that can develop as a result of a veteran’s past,” says the Spartanburg native and Converse College graduate with a BFA in studio art with a concentration in printmaking. She also is a graduate of Spartanburg High School and works for FedEx Ground.
“The installation acts as a visual and experiential advocate for the voices of combat veterans and what they’ve gone through physically, mentally and emotionally. All in hope of raising awareness of what veterans face when returning home.”
Frost’s inspiration for the exhibit was her desire to share peoples’ stories in the hope of helping or making change. “I’ve always wanted to give a voice to those who are not heard. What inspired me to share the stories of our nation’s veterans is not only do I have family who served, and I have heard their stories, but I’ve also heard stories from friends. I found out it’s hard to get help when returning home. There’s also not enough resources and places to go for help, and I think it needs to change.”
Entering the exhibit, visitors can expect to see stories of veterans who served in different areas and stories from different perspectives, told visually through screen prints on plaster. “I think the most important thing to be said about the exhibit is that everyone’s stories matter, and it’s important that we listen to every perspective, even if we disagree at first,” Frost says.
All of the pieces will be available for purchase, with prices ranging from $100 to $600 each.
The exhibit represents Frost’s art in general, she says. “For me, I believe art should be used to say something and provoke change or influence people. I don’t like to make art unless it has those aspects. Making bodies of work like that gives me a sense of purpose.”
This will be Frost’s first public exhibition. It was planned as a solo exhibit at Converse last year, but it had to be done as a virtual show due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m still thankful for it because I was able to reach a lot more people than I would have in person. Now, I’m very thankful for the Artists Collective | Spartanburg for giving me this opportunity and for the volunteers to put in their own time to show my work.”