“Lysychansk Gymnasium” (2022) by Scott Charles Ross, 42 x 42 inches. Lysychansk is a city in Ukraine that was assaulted and captured by Russians last year.
Writer: Christine Riccelli
When Russia invaded Ukraine last Feb. 24, artist Scott Charles Ross found himself “totally glued to the news. … The [war] really struck me in a way that nothing had ever before.” Haunted by the war’s brutality and as a way to do something to combat his distress, he began sketching scenes he saw in the news.
Nearly 11 months later, he’ll debut “Ukraine ’22 Project,” a series of 11 paintings plus the drawings they’re based on, at an exhibit opening Friday at Moberg Gallery. The reception, from 5 to 7 p.m., will include comments by Ross; Suzan M. Pritchett, a Drake Law School professor and an expert in immigration law; and Ukrainian students, among others.
The exhibit’s goal, Ross says, is to boost awareness of the war and the plight of Ukrainians as well as raise money to help displaced Ukrainians in Iowa. The paintings won’t be for sale—instead, Ross and Moberg are securing sponsors for the works—but the drawings will be available to buy. All proceeds from the sales and sponsorships will help fund Drake Legal Clinic’s newly established Humanitarian Legal Fund, which will support displaced individuals. After the two-week run at Moberg, the exhibit will travel to colleges, museums and other venues throughout the state.
Ross’ evocative black and white works depict, for example, grave markers, bombed-out buildings and abandoned churches. He says his initial drawings included people, but he removed them to more vividly “show loss and the absence of life, the emptiness. … I found myself getting emotional … and tearing up as I worked on [the project].”
Moberg Gallery is at 2411 Grand Ave.; for more info and to see images of Ross’ works, visit the gallery’s website.