Mixed Media Works at SJU Gallery Illuminate Mixed Messages

Friday, September 26, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (September 25, 2008) - illumination, a collection of mixed media/collage works by Kentucky artist Julie Gawne, is featured for the next exhibit at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery, which opens Monday, Oct. 6, and runs through Friday, Oct. 31.

Gawne’s work is distinctive for its pairing of seemingly disparate components of text and image. Random words, letters, photographs, postcards and domestic scenes featured in old magazine advertisements are rearranged, layered and pieced together into an intricate whole.  The layering of the images and text create partially obscured, complex and shifting visuals, which fashion subliminal as well as mixed messages that are heightened by her use of ads meant for mass communication.

For Gawne, the personal interpretation of images and text go far beyond what is literal and obvious, especially in terms of mass media. “I am intrigued by the way images and text communicate both literally and through inference, and how words and phrases can change their meaning over time,” she said. “I am also fascinated by the beautiful structure of letterforms, and have recently revisited a passion for illuminated manuscripts, and utilize their page organization and compositional elements for this series.”

While the anonymity of most illuminated manuscript artists is compelling to Gawne, her compositions are intensely personal, and address themes relating to her experience as a woman, daughter, mother, teacher and artist.

“Gawne’s use of magazine clippings from the 20s and 30s may seem amusing to the modern viewer because the stereotypical roles of men and women portrayed in the clips are a thing of the past, but her work is an intriguing comment on life then and now, and specifically examines the changing roles of women and family,” said Associate Gallery Director Jeanne Bracy.  “The careful placement of words and phrases around the advertisements question the archaic message of the images, and the piecemeal nature of collage contradicts the organized, picture-perfect lifestyles documented in the magazine clippings.”

An associate professor of art and graphic design at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky., Gawne’s work has been shown in numerous juried, curated, invitational and solo exhibitions throughout the country, and has been collected in public and private collections. She has received several grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Gawne was trained as a traditional artist with coursework in painting, drawing and printmaking.  She received an M.F.A. from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb., Ill.

The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue, between 54th Street & Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or access www.sju.edu/gallery.

Media Contact

 Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240, patricia.allen@sju.edu

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