Musings | Monthly Muse September 2022
Pat Gomez’s War Stories (1991) initially caught my attention due to its striking patterns, colors, and stylized composition. In looking more closely at the heart and rose shapes, I realized that a family history of the artist was embedded within the design. The creation of the work coincides with the end of the Gulf War and the text reveals insights about her family’s involvement in military conflicts. As a former soldier myself, the work and the message resonate with me more than three decades later.
The repeating pattern of red hearts and roses on the purple background represents the narratives that soldiers tell to explain their experiences and trauma when reintegrating back into civilian life. When I look beyond, or within, that narrative, I encounter the small green rectangle with blue hearts and roses, which I view as a window to the personal moments during wartime—jokes told amongst soldiers or conversations with loved ones over phones and laptops. War Stories brings me back to memories never forgotten and stories told that illuminate the impact of war on individuals and families.
Spencer Gomez, '25, PhD (History)
Graduate Curatorial and Research Assistant, Langson IMCA