"Symbiosis" is a Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition of mixed media drawings by Jeri Allison, on display through August 1, 2008.
"These works reflect two years of submersion in the realm of the elephant. My hope is that the viewer will come to see the elephant with empathy," Allison says. "My drawings depict the many guises of elephants. Being a part of diverse cultures, elephants are deified in some, imprisoned in others. Elephants are creatures of magnificence. They are familial, intelligent, affectionate, powerful, submissive and godly. Their presence has enlightened the path of humans. It is unfortunate that we have rarely returned the kindness. Our relationship with these creatures has been one of dominance even in what may appear to be harmless circumstances."
Allison's two great loves are animals and art. She grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has been drawing and painting since childhood, with occasional breaks spent training horses. Her love of the mountains brought her to Tennessee, where she lives with a multitude of rescued dogs and cats.
Her experience as a graduate student made it possible to merge her two loves through drawings of elephants. When she entered college, she wanted to improve her skills as an artist and also use her work as a vehicle to help animals. Her series "Symbiosis" is a culmination of this goal. Her future plans include teaching college art and starting a new series of animal related drawings.
Among her theoretical influences, Allison counts psychoanalysts Carl Jung, James Hillman and Jerome S. Bernstein "for their insights into human nature and the significant role animals play in our lives." Artistic influences include Sue Coe, Frank Noelker, Franz Marc and Deborah Butterfield. "Their work has influenced me deeply," she says. "They find value in the human-animal relationship and share this insight with sensitivity and poignancy."
Generally, Allison says, "I combine media such as pastel, charcoal and graphite. I most enjoy working in a representational style atop various mixed media surfaces. My drawing surface may consist of plaster, coffee, India ink, gel medium, tissue or decorative papers. Experimentation with various media allows me to combine traditional and nontraditional methods."
READ ON about Science & Art:
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-- Previous Exhibitions: "Artistic R-evolution," "Earth Permanence," and "Orders of Magnitude"
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