On Jan. 25, the Deeply Placed art exhibit’s grand opening featured artists showing a variety of their works.
Take a moment to breathe, Samford. Find your way to the art gallery this month. There, you’ll see artwork unlike any you’ve ever seen.
When you’re done messing with the sand pit, make your way to the northeastern wall. There, you’ll be face to face with several pieces by an artist, graphic designer, educator and mother-of-three, Jessica Henderson. Henderson, the primary contributor of most of the pieces, brings her talents all the way from St. Paul, MN, where she teaches at Buffalo University.
The Deeply Placed exhibit focuses on personhood and individuality. The pieces featured at the exhibit took years to create. Henderson remarked that she picks and pulls elements from a variety of sources to produce her best work. Some of her pieces may appear to be duplicates. Her creative process involves making a piece, copying and pasting, distorting, copying and pasting again while integrating new elements, distorting again and repeating the process until the desired outcome is achieved.
At first glance, the pieces in question seem to display some kind of hieroglyphics when in actuality, all the shapes on the faces of the black and white pieces are security code patterns for android phones.
“They’re the most effective or secure code combinations. You know how there’s like nine dots or twelve dots or whatever? Those are the patterns that are supposed to be the most protective,” Henderson said. “I like them in the work because they kind of obstruct the piece, plus I’m a graphic designer, so I’m interested in text and letter forms. Those are just things I’m drawn to.”
Henderson credits Chat GPT for providing some of the text she uses in one of her pieces, showing that inspiration can come from unconventional sources.
“You know how you have a bunch of crap on your phone? Could have been something you saw, research or whatever? So, like, that’s the stuff that interests me,” said Henderson.
However, technology is not always the answer. Henderson went on to describe the second half of her life as “saturated by technology.” Smartphones and computers barely existed when she was in college, so she feels fortunate to have grown up without needing them.
“No cell phone, no texting, with a foot in both worlds,” she said.
Simply put, Henderson feels that technology distracts her and fails to form her in meaningful ways. Fortunately, life has granted Henderson other sources for her to find true meaning and inspiration. Henderson credits a contribution made by her daughter on one of her pieces. Her daughter drew the smiley face featured on one of the exhibit’s canvases.