ST. GEORGE — Quarantine doesn’t have to be lonely and boring. Artist Kimberly Jackson hopes that with her show “Europe to Israel and Back Again,” people can be transported to another time and place, even while staying at home.
The Red Cliffs Gallery will host Jackson’s show beginning on Nov. 23, a collection of 30 pieces inspired by her family’s vacation to Europe and Israel in 2019. Each piece represents a moment from the trip seen through Jackson’s eyes.
“I want (people) to have an opportunity to travel, to get away,” Jackson said. “I think art allows us that freedom to go places we wouldn’t normally go. We can travel the world through art.”
Jackson, who is legally blind, created the pieces with gouache and watercolor from photos she took on the trip. The show features images from France, Spain, Italy and Israel, including a fish-eye view of the Eiffel Tower and several impressions of everyday life in the places she visited. From quaint street views in Barcelona to the Notre Dame before it was burned in April 2019, Jackson hopes the show will convey the essence of a journey overseas.
Jackson can’t see anything that isn’t directly in front of her and below her forehead, she said, which makes painting and drawing physically challenging because she has to lean in close and squint to see the details of her work. Other people see the world differently than she does, Jackson said, so showing the world through her eyes is important to her.
“People always ask what I see, and I often look at them and go, ‘Well, what do you see?’” Jackson said. “The interesting thing for an artist is being able to bring what they see, whether it’s in their imagination or through their eyes, to fruition on a canvas. And bringing the feelings and emotions that are in my vision or what I see and bringing it to pass on a piece of paper is a really exciting process. I don’t think that my art is at all representational of a photograph, where the lens can capture everything all at once, where my work is more of a feeling or an emotion that is the moment that I see it.”
There are benefits to working off of photos. Jackson was able to choose the scenes that she wanted to recreate and study them. If a photo showed a scene from an odd angle Jackson was able to move things around on the canvas and make the compositions more interesting. Of course, not every photo was show-worthy.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m the one that gets to decide whether or not it gets put in the shredder,” Jackson said.
Most of the paintings took her about a week to complete. Despite the physical toll that creating art takes, original art provides an outlet for the artist and the viewer, whereas mass-produced art may not allow the same unique connection.
“The chances of every neighbor in their community having the exact same print is so small, where if there’s only five or 10 framed print options at Walmart, then that’s all the choices that people have,” Jackson said. “We’re so used to fast food and instant home decor going into a store that they don’t understand how many hours goes into creating the original.”
“Europe to Israel and Back Again” will run until Dec. 11. The building will be closed for Thanksgiving and anyone inside must wear a mask. Anyone quarantining at home who would like to see the show can view it on Facebook or Instagram. Prints will also be available on Jackson’s website.
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