School of Art and Design Alumni Exhibition 2021
Jennifer Ganzel Sherman, BFA, MA
Since my graduation from ECU in the Spring of 1998, my work has changed course. Initially, while studying and creating work at ECU as an art education major with a concentration in painting, my work was a culmination of oil self-portraits on canvas. I did these works from life, each one a study of myself and the background images that I used pulled from different subject matters, each one representing myself in a different costume, or setting. I utilized this time as a point of self-discovery, to try to encapsulate who I was as a person and a time to evaluate the point that I was at on my journey as both an artist, and a person. From there, as I began my career as a visual arts educator, and I began to explore the idea of pursuing my master’s degree in art.
In 2002 I began attending UNCP and decided that I wanted to shift gears on the direction of my body of works. I really wanted to drift away from the self-portraits, and into another subject area. I began to explore the works of Audrey Flack, a well-known American Photorealist painter. Her works spoke to me as an artist and allowed me the vision to begin creating collage inspired large works of art that depicted different themes. These works, although each very different, still included images that represented self-portraits. They could be hung in any direction, being that the images that I included came from different angles from each of the 4 perimeter edges. I began to generate specific brushstrokes that marked my style in the background and embedded color, texture, line and movement. This brushstroke style was new and a breakaway from my previously generated self-portrait background images. I also broke away from utilizing black in my paintings, which created a newfound vibrance and quality of light. I really enjoyed exploring this new direction in my work. It was both therapeutic and inspirational.
Once I finished my graduate work in 2007, due to a lack of studio space, having small children, and working full time, I began to generate a new body of works. My new work was created with pencil on paper. I began creating portraits of other people. The images that I created were again meaningful and purpose filled. They were images of my family, and many of them specifically of my children. I again explored my love of line movement in my work, and I continued to add in my textural work in the background of my pieces, and drew with not only pencil, but also with eraser. This allowed me to generate the same line quality, minus the addition of color, as in my previous paintings.
My works today represent a barrage of animal portraits, and once again reveal my love of both color and medium. I have created many works that represent my passion for wildlife and nature. Through my color choice I try to capture specific moods, as well as generate movement, and images that speak from the artist to the viewer in a meaningful way. By utilizing high quality colored pencil and baby oil, I can encapsulate the look of a painting. You will notice my line quality and feel of movement in the background, has remained the same.
By communing with nature, it has enabled me to take moments of silence, to commune in a place of unbridled peace. To seek to understand in the silence what the world can be defined in. Art is a means of expressing that silence, it is a way to communicate non-verbally and is a critical means by which we reveal our hope for mankind. When no words are spoken, but passion is revealed it speaks from the heart and breaks the darkness as a beacon of light and hope in a world that seeks solace.