In my first week at JCC I began a job as a gallery assistant in the Weeks Gallery. The first exhibition of the year is “JCC Art Department Faculty”, an exhibition of nearly 50 works produced by 14 members of the Jamestown Community College faculty.
From 3-D art, to ceramics, to oil paintings, the Weeks Gallery is truly wonderful. I was amazed by the overflowing amount of talent that the staff here at JCC possess. As art teachers always help students find their own passion and strengths, it was riveting to experience the teachers’ passions and the fields of art they truly shine in. I highly recommend visiting the Weeks Gallery to see this exhibition. It is on the second floor of ARSC next to the theatre.
Though all of the artwork on view in the gallery is interesting, my personal favorites are the allegorical collages by Theresa Heinz, who teaches at JCC’s Cattaraugus County campus. These collages are made up of many different pieces of cut paper to form an image. Both show a young girl and have different scriptures and writings in showing in the background.
Heinz uses collages to portray a young girl who evidently endured several obstacles in her childhood. Words such as “fat,” “loser,” and “lazy” are used throughout one of these pieces to show a young girl who has evidently endured verbal abuse in her childhood. One cannot help but notice how damaged the child in the collage appears to be.
When looking at the piece, I felt I could see the sadness in the little girl’s eyes, and the negative language used in the collage reminded me of how nasty children can be to one another. Heinz’s art demonstrates the idea that children can be broken or damaged. This is a feeling that, in today’s world, many people can relate to.
In Heinz’s second collage, we see a small girl who is broken and cracked, surrounded by quotes such as “pick me” and “hear me” in the background. This makes me feel like the girl is desperate to be heard; she’s been broken and alone for too long.
Looking further in depth at the piece, I noticed quotes like, “stripped of everything” or “who needs love and protection.” For me, these last quotes left a big impact, as I began to think that perhaps the young girl was abused, not only emotionally, but sexually as well. My mind began to inquire and yearn for more information about this girl, as I stare at the collage wondering: what lead to such damage in this girl’s life? I think the artwork as a whole symbolizes a girl’s childhood in general and stresses the dangers girls face while growing up.
In my eyes, the great thing about Heinz’s artwork is that every time I came back to look again, my mind continued to race with ideas and possibilities about the meaning of these works. Artwork is meant to get the viewer thinking and imagining, and Theresa Heinz’s collages truly make the viewer think.
Another one of the many artworks that I personally enjoy is the photograph set, Intimate Journey: Peru, by Deborah Lanni, a recently retired art teacher at the Jamestown campus. When looking at the six photos displayed, the first word that comes to my mind is mesmerizing.
Lanni’s photographs capture the culture of Peru and show viewers how different the culture is from our modern day culture in America. The photos show the traditional Peruvian costumes, and the way of worship and religious practices differ from ours. The black and white images are so crisp and clear that I feel as if I, too, am in the same exotic environment shown in the photos. Lanni’s photos bring a feeling of depth and reality of this far away land.
My favorite element of these photographs is that, while looking at them, they make me feel wonder. For example, her one photo shows a room full of candles with writing on the walls. The room appears to be a place of worship, and it’s intriguing to see how different the culture’s religious beliefs are from my personal religious beliefs.
Another photo shows the vivid texture and detail of the clothing of a few Peruvian women. Again, the photo shows the contrast between this foreign culture in comparison to America’s culture.
I also loved the ceramic pieces by Deric Ence who teaches on the campus in Jamestown. My favorite is Ence’s stamped, decorative stoneware boxes and urns. They seem both vintage and modern at the same time. That is, they look like something old you might see in a museum, with muted shades of blue and green and intricate geometric designs all over the vessels.
But what makes Ence’s so unique in my eyes, is that he makes a vintage-looking piece with very modern details. Specifically, he hides stamped imprints of popular contemporary symbols in his designs. For example, his piece “Stormtrooper Box” has the Star Wars Stormtrooper imprinted all over the box, while another piece, “Gallifrey Jar,” is engraved with the symbol of Doctor Who’s home planet.
The “JCC Art Department Faculty” exhibition is great, everyone should go. Opening Reception with food is Thursday September 3 from 6-8 p.m. There will be live music too. It’s all free and open to the public!