“Deregulator was made after the financial meltdown of 2008. There was a lot of talk about ‘regular Joes.’ The eagle represents our national symbol, and the pigeons are ‘regular Joes.’ The pigeons are clad in blue collar work uniforms.” ~ Anne Lemanski
Artist Anne Lemanski attended Michigan State University and the Studio Art Center International, receiving her BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She served residencies at the Ox-Bow Summer School of Art, the Penland School of Crafts, and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, NC. Nowadays she spends her time in Spruce Pine, NC, creating new works in her studio made from recycled shipping containers.
Lemanski’s knack for an innovative combination of natural imagery and political commentary strikes the hearts of many. Her artwork has been claimed by a great variety of collections, including but not limited to the Asheville Art Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, and the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Collection in Karachi, Pakistan.
With a powerful title like Deregulator, it’s difficult to not be drawn to this work of art. To me, the striking eyes of the eagle combined with its seeming indifference towards the pigeon crushed under its foot creates a compelling narrative of power dynamics and the American dream. I loved Lemanski’s decision to use pigeons to represent the average, blue-collar worker. It’s amazing to see an artist successfully evoke empathy with the image of a bird that people usually regard as “rats with wings.”
Contributed by Maddy Scherer, communications intern, student at UNC Asheville