Bulger's Beat: Battlefield paintings capture reality of war - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Battlefield paintings capture reality of modern war

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Reporters and photographers are often embedded with soldiers at war, but it's rare to allow that to happen for an artist.

Steve Mumford captured the realities of war by living with the troops off and on for 10 years. Now, you can get a unique look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the work of his paintbrush.

A new exhibit opening Friday at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts showcases what the painter saw, including the combat, the hospitals and the down time of war.

"I think, in a way, it feels more personal than a photograph, and I hope it makes the viewer feel that they are there as much as I was when I was making the drawing," Mumford said.

Describing Mumford's paintings as beautiful may be technically accurate, but such a word can never exist with war.

"If you're really in the middle of combat, there's no way you can draw. You're just trying to take cover. But the minute you find a spot and take cover, you kind of whip out your drawing pad and draw as quick as possible," Mumford said.

Veterans were invited to a special preview, and the paintings got a mostly emotional reaction from the men and women who have served.

The exhibit runs through June 8. For more information, visit: http://fristcenter.org.

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