Book Illustrations, Paintings, and Photography at Reflection Gallery February 4 to March 2
An opening reception and artist talks will take place Thursday, February 4, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., at the Reflection Gallery. The reception is open to the public and all are welcome.
The group exhibit features book illustrations by Josh Jaehnig and Rachel Reidenga, and photographs and paintings-in an exhibit titled "But There is So Much to Climb!"-by Sarah Anderson and Stephanie Trevino.
Junior illustration major Josh Jaehnig is showing his illustrations for "Concerto No. 23," a book about failing to appreciate the things that you have, almost to the point of not realizing they exist. Jaehnig explains that the book tells the story of a man who spends so much time practicing his own ways that he loses himself. In order to find himself again, the man must travel to the point of no return to discover everything he been lost or missing."
Jaehnig's illustrations are partly created using a watercolor press technique in which images are created by painting on a hard surface and then pressing paper onto that surface. The results are beautiful washes full of texture and emotion. On these individual backgrounds, Jaehnig places black and silhouette foreground images, creating high contrast visual statements.
"My work is myself," Jaehnig says of his inspiration and process. "It is a pure reflection of feelings, or ideas generated from those feelings. It's all timing. Bright paintings and illustrations come from better times, while the darker images reflect my winter months and the struggles I have with myself."
Jaehnig says he doesn't aspire to impress the viewer, just to communicate with himself and to keep a record of his ways. "They are nothing more and nothing less," he says of his art. "Just ways to look back on myself and remember how I was feeling, how I wanted to act. It is my hope that viewers might feel what I felt as I created these illustrations."
Rachel Reidenga is a junior studying illustration at Finlandia. The Reflection Gallery exhibit features illustrations from her children's book, "Welcome to my Kingdom."
"Enter into a world that is full of fantasy, mystery, and colorful characters," Reidenga urges readers of her book. "Rediscover the land of your dreams where you can explore new frontiers, make new friends, and let your imagination soar."
Reidenga says the inspiration for her book's storyline comes from "my own adventures as a child playing in the woods behind my house. I would entertain myself for hours just wandering around, only returning home when I heard the sound of my father's whistling call."
The pages of "Welcome to my Kingdom" are full of colorful and playful skewed perspectives in ink and watercolor. Reidenga describes her love for watercolor as, "a passion which resides in my ability to be precise yet spontaneous with the medium."
"I love to watch the watercolor's uncontrollable reaction with materials such as salt, as well as those moments when my brush leaves its intended path only to discover that the watercolor has created its own miniature masterpiece," Reidenga adds.
The colorful images of the characters and landscapes in Reidenga's book highlight the amazing ability of watercolor to create everything from the rigidity of rocks to the fluidity of water. "This has allowed my imagination for the book to reach no barriers and the watercolor to flow right along with my imagination," she says. Reidenga hopes that those who view her illustrations will be transported back to the world of their own childhood fantasy adventures and boundless dreams.
Senior illustration major Sarah Anderson and junior studio arts major Stephanie Trevino will show an exhibit they've titled, "But There is So Much to Climb!"
Anderson says the collaborative work is centered around a particular event, explaining that, "in our minds, events become polished and it is impossible for us to exactly re-live them. Some details are clear. Some are preserved in photographs and objects associated with the event. Some are only the memories of one person until their recollection is retold. The rest we make up a bit, we polish it, exaggerate and become nostalgic about it. Until finally, one day, that 4th of July evening, for example, becomes greater than it ever was. It becomes our very own epic tale."
In the exhibit, the women's epic tale is retold through Anderson's illustrations and Trevino's photographs.
Anderson says some questions viewers may ask as they explore this show are, "What becomes a legend? How do we determine the stories we tell and re-tell? When we reminisce, what makes one thing stand out more in our minds?
"As we traverse through life, we gather personal anecdotes, stories, and fables that we share with our friends, family, and even strangers we only spend a passing few moments with," Anderson says. "Sometimes they are stories we tell in full, and sometimes it is something we only allude to."
Anderson and Trevino invite everyone to come and listen to their story and determine for themselves the truth and the fantasy.
The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of the Finlandia University Jutila Center campus. For additional information, contact Yueh-mei Cheng, associate professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.