New exhibit by RAIR fellow opens at RMAC

November 22, 2013 • Local News

Jessica Kirkpatrick, a fellow in the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, opened her “The Sculptor’s Model” exhibition Friday at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. (Tess Townsend Photo)

An exhibition by Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program fellow Jessica Kirkpatrick opened at the Roswell Museum and Art Center Friday.

The opening of “The Sculptor’s Model” included a talk by the artist followed by a reception at RMAC and dinner at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art.

Images of female nudes and suburbia are prominent in the show, which is named for a figures reference book published in the 1950s.

At the opening, Kirkpatrick described her fascination with female nudes throughout art history.

She [auth] cited Venus Pudica, a common figural pose in Western art, as an example of the contradictions inherent in portrayals of female nudes.

“She invites our gaze but at the same time protects her virtue,” she said, pointing out how in the pose the figure covers her genitals.

Stephen Fleming, director of the residency program, commended Kirkpatrick for tackling figure painting. He said it is challenging to find something new to add to a tradition so ubiquitous throughout European art history.

Kirkpatrick also said the philosophy of phenomenology, which studies the experience of consciousness, Socialist Realist painting such as Soviet propaganda, and the time Kirkpatrick spent studying in Europe have influenced her art.

Some paintings in Kirkpatrick’s body of work appear pixelated. This almost digital quality appealed in particular to one attendee of the opening, a Roswell High School senior who goes by the name Rijn Kingsley.

“It’s a fascination over like the glitches that you get when files break,” said Kingsley, 16. “It adds an eeriness. It shows that things aren’t working right.”

Kirkpatrick’s mother, Tonia Vernet, of Point Reyes, Calif., came to visit her daughter for the opening.

She said Kirkpatrick has always been in interested in the “feminine spirit.” She described imagery in Kirkpatrick’s current show as “goddesses alive and well in the suburbs.”

Vernet pointed out an interesting piece of family history: She said that she and Kirkpatrick are descended from the Vernet family of painters in France, who were active over four generations during the 17th and 18th centuries.

A prince on horseback taken from a Vernet painting appears in Kirkpatrick’s painting “The Prince (Chora II).”

Mediums of art exhibited in “The Sculptor’s Model” include oil on canvas, sculpture and cyanotype on fabric. Cyanotype is a printing process that creates blue and white images that look similar to negative photos.

The show is on display in the Horgan Gallery at RMAC until Jan. 5.

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