Main Gallery, Mentry Hall 108
February 3 – March 26, 2020
Artist in Residence: February 24th to February 27th
Artist Talk: February 26th, 2:30pm - view link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8stfaobAUI
Merging memory, biology, culture and history, Jessica Wimbley investigates identity through portraiture. Using poet Audre Lorde’s term biomythography (a literary form that blends elements of autobiography, the novel, and personal mythology) as an interdisciplinary approach, Wimbley creates mixed media works combining painting, photography, drawing, performance and digital media to challenge the complexities of race and narrative in the American imagination.
Jessica Wimbley: Belle Jet and Cabinet Cards was curated by Pamela Bailey Lewis. This exhibition and the 2nd Annual College of the Canyons Artist Residence Program were made possible by the support of the COC Foundation’s Patrons of the Arts, the Associated Students, and the Visual and Performing Arts Department.
The COC Art Gallery is indebted to many individual and departments. My thanks goes first to Jessica Wimbley for so generously sharing her work and her time with us. I am also very grateful to Vivian Lainfiesta, Dean Jenn Smolos, Ashley Murphy, Daniel Lewis, Annika Lüsse, Joe Kemp, Nick Pavik, Shawn Irwin, Rob Comeau, Mary Angelino, Stephanie Corral, Repographics, Technology Services, and the African American/Black Student Alliance for their support.
Wimbley’s video references research and documentary film footage of the same title, created by Zora Neale Hurston in the 1920s and 1930s.
For many, Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960) is best known for her creative writing. But she was also an anthropologist and described using anthropology as an “illuminating lens” through which to research communities – a metaphor embraced by many anthropologists of the day. However, Hurston departed from convention in her choice of subject matter. She proposed studying her own people – an idea that ran counter to anthropological method of the day. Her approach to her work, that of a “participantobserver” in the black communities she chronicled in Florida, New Orleans, Haiti, and Jamaica, was modeled on that of her teacher Franz Boas, widely considered one of the most important anthropologists of all time.Hurston used her anthropological fieldwork to debunk stereotypes about black people and to dismiss the idea that black cultures were inferior. Her research was pioneering in its efforts to theorize the effects of the African diaspora. Hurston was interested in the ways that culture shapes personality, and also how African cultural patterns were retained in African American cultures. Hurston’s studies of African American folklore were vivid and innovative. They emphasized African Americans’ connections to African ancestry, and argued that its rich and complex tradition helped blacks adapt to the New World.
Download Denise M Johnson Essay
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2020
Art Gallery to Feature Jessica Wimbley Exhibit
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will feature the mixed media work of artist Jessica Wimbley in her solo exhibition “Belle Jet and Cabinet Cards.”
Running from February 3 to March 26, the exhibition is a survey of works Wimbley has created over the past six years investigating how identity is constructed through portraiture as well as inherited ideals and beliefs.
Wimbley’s complex and poetic portraits are made up of layers of photographic images of herself, her grandmother, great grandmother, and other relatives dating back to the early 1900’s. She also uses Victorian portraits, pop culture images from black periodicals like JET Magazine, and ethnographic images of Native, African, and African American women.
“I’m so excited to introduce Jessica Wimbley’s artwork to our community and also thrilled that Jessica will be here ‘in-residence’ to engage directly with our students and faculty,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis.
Using poet Audre Lorde’s term "biomythography" (a literary form that blends elements of autobiography, the novel, and personal mythology) as an interdisciplinary approach, Wimbley’s mixed media works merge memory, biology, culture and history to challenge the complexities of race and narrative in the American imagination.
“Through the merging of images, I seek to create a hybrid, which exposed the shifting of identities in relationship to both historical and social political understanding of American history and citizenry,” said Wimbley.
As the Art Gallery’s second artist in residence, Wimbley will be on campus from February 24 to 27.
A free public lecture by the Los Angeles-based artist will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday,
Feb. 26 followed by a reception for the artist from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.
All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.
More About the Artist
Based in Sacramento, Jessica Wimbley has exhibited her work in galleries across the nation, including the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, California State University at Long Beach, and Ripon College.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in painting from Rhode Island School of Design, she completed her M.F.A in visual arts from the University of California, Davis. Wimbley also holds a master’s degree in arts management from Claremont Graduate University.