by Hani Yassine
The Lance – Arts & Culture Writer
It was an attempt to present an open conversation about the beauty of the female anatomy, to demonstrate a relationship between two specific representations.
The words found in Jennifer Parker’s artist statement well matched the imagery of her exhibit titled Daughter, which ran from Nov. 19 to 24 at the Lebel Building’s School of Visual Arts Project Gallery. A fifth-year BFA student with graduation on the horizon, the roughly two dozen works Parker had displayed, which were crafted with acrylic paints, ink washes and charcoal techniques, was a result of a semester’s work inspired by feminist pieces as it studied the marriage of the female body and floral beauty.
“I originally started with just the flowers, and then it morphed into, while I was creating the symbols, the female sexuality and the female anatomy,” Parker said.
Parker says it took nearly a year to fully realize the project’s vision, with the body of work done over the recent semester best exemplifying the theme being represented. She says she was “trying to be literal” with the anatomical aspects without being too explicit, aiming to present it more as an underlying tone. The images are abstract in their approach, yet implied enough to show a defined representation, all while being diverse in the approaches to explore different body parts.
With Daughter marking her first solo exhibit, Parker says it was nerve-wracking to have her worked displayed in a public space, partly due to how people would respond to the content but also in the logistics of setting up the exhibit to ensure a personalized aspect to her presentation.
“I was a giant stress ball on Sunday setting up,” Parker said. “You can prepare all you want, but the day you come to set up is a whole different story.”
Parker says it took about 10 hours to set up the exhibit the day before it was scheduled to run, noting that there were setbacks along the way to smooth over all the nooks and crannies. Despite having some background knowledge from working at an art gallery, Parker admits the process of setting one up is more difficult and strenuous than it appears.
Throughout the week, she says the exhibit ultimately proved to be a success and well received by both male and female audiences. With the gallery being ready for a show on Nov.19, she found her nerves beginning to calm the more the week had progressed, up until the closing reception Nov. 24. On one end, the exhibit taught Parker to better prepare for unexpected elements for future shows, but it also served as encouragement for her to be more confident in the work being put out.
“Let people have a judgment on it, and that’s okay,” Parker said. “I want people to see my work. If they don’t like it that’s completely fine, but they have a view on why they don’t like it.”
With this being her final semester, Parker says this exhibit, and the emotions experienced from having her work displayed, signified the end of a chapter, something she says she is okay with.
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