Indicia: Exhibition by Jean Hess, Emily Taylor

Susan EspirituWest Knoxville

Mixed-media artists Jean Hess and Emily Taylor invite all to visit their exhibition at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) June 9 – July 31, opening with a reception on Friday, June 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Playing with words they found the title for their show: Indicia.

Indicia: Indications, traces, evidence. A thing serving as a visible or tangible representation of a fact, quality or feeling.”

Taylor and Hess, long-time friends and colleagues, take a selective yet serendipitous approach to making work that is evidence of shared influences: recollecting and reconsidering early memories, family history and chaotic life paths that include loss, displacement, uncertainty and growth as well as concern about world events. They each gather and playfully experiment with found and natural materials along with traditional art media, aiming to surprise themselves and others.

Jean Hess shares her story: “I hail from a family of raconteurs; our personal stories cover a lifetime of idiosyncratic encounters. My work indicates something – holds traces of memories and preferences. A sort of evidence, then. But it is indirect, stealthy, shifting. Collage. Some pieces are accompanied by necklaces, trinkets and small collage books I make to commemorate what occurred. The idea of commemoration is important.

“While each work has recognizable imagery along with abstract riffs that tie things together, your interpretation might be very different from my own. For example, the Native American imagery may rankle as non-PC if you do not know the story about my Swiss grandfather’s passionate forays into archeology when he immigrated to the US.

“The grids and woven fabric pattern tropes reflect that he designed silk textiles. His influence determined childhood memories that remain happily salient for me today.

“Plants, animals and landscape views from old books figure prominently as well. Our family were, and are, avid gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. Most of our family memories are of mountain and seaside vacations; most snapshots were taken out of doors.

“Alternatively, you may focus on the intricate layering of each collage painting as paper and paint combine with clear resins to refract light and shimmer. The careful selection of pattern and color, and the marks made with pencil, pen and scrapers, may also be enough to resonate.

I only hope that some of the works appeal to you – enchant or surprise – even if our stories differ.”

Jean Hess’ work is in public collections including Huntsville Museum of Art, Knoxville Museum of Art, Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science, Knoxville Convention Center, University of Virginia, as well as numerous corporate and private collections.

She writes about art, gives classes and opens her Knoxville studio and garden by appointment: here.

Emily Taylor describes her style of art: “The things I make can be grouped in categories, though there are common themes, a common root, or at least a common root system. I process being in this world through social, physical and spiritual ways: drawing, painting, constructing, repairing, gardening. Through these I show events, perceptions, emotions, memory and commemoration.

“Drawing is playful perception, an act of desperation or both. Painting holds the tension of the paint depicting something and the paint being something. When it works, both are in play.

“In the case of reconstructing seashells, I was taken with the joy of handling beautiful fragments and puzzle-piecing them together. It also generated associations of artifacts and memory.”

Emily Taylor teaches studio art locally as an adjunct professor and in other workshop formats. She has shown her work locally and regionally, as well as further afield in group shows and private collections. Her studio is in Bearden, contact her to visit or come to an open studio. email Facebook Instagram

The included photo gallery showcases only a few some of the pieces included at the exhibition.

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