Last March, Laura ‘‘Lola’’ Baltzell of Brookline assembled a group of fellow artists to make collages inspired by the pages of her two-volume Russian edition of Leo Tolstoy’s ‘‘War and Peace’’ from the 1970s. The project began as a way to spend time with friends and colleagues in her East Boston studio, reconnect with her college major of Russian, and shift her focus from the metastatic breast cancer she was diagnosed with in August 2008.
The 15 contributors — who range in age from 20 to 65 — have produced more than 300 7’’ x 5’’ images incorporating the Russian text with what Baltzell calls ‘‘a mash-up of personal bits and random detritus washed up from the universe of print,’’ including newspapers, pamphlets, letters, maps torn and cut from hand-me-down books, thread, dried flowers, wax, ink, and acrylic paint.
‘‘The War and Peace Project’’ is on display at Atlantic Works Gallery, 80 Border St. in East Boston, with a reception on Thursday 6 to 9 p.m., featuring Russian fare and entertainment. Members of ‘‘Team Tolstoy’’ include Lucy Arrington of Cambridge; Adrienne Wetmore of Boston’s South End; Lucy Zahner Montgomery, Emma Rhodes, and Lynn Waskelis, all of Jamaica Plain; and Otto Mayr of Berlin, Germany.
‘‘I love the ritual of coming together, knowing exactly what we will be doing, but not exactly who will be doing it or how,’’ Baltzell said. ‘‘‘War and Peace’ has it all. Tolstoy’s work is so heart-achingly beautiful; he captures so much of what it is to be human. It has ample time and room for each of us. And I think that this project has mostly attracted artists who generally love words, language, and books, or particularly these words, this beautiful language, and translation, and this amazing book.’’
The Atlantic Works Gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays, 2 to 6 p.m. or by appointment, with the exhibit running through Dec. 18. To view Team Tolstoy’s blog, visit www.warpeaceproject.blogspot.com.
People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.