Ghost Prairie Opens April 7 at Legion Arts/CSPS
Exhibition Dates: April 7-July 3, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 7, 5-7pm
Open 10am-6pm Mon-Sat
Ghost Prairie is a new painting project by 2016 Iowa Arts Council grantee, Jen P. Harris. Featuring new works on paper and wood developed during the last six months, the exhibition will be on view in Legion Arts’ main gallery at CSPS from April 7 through June 26, 2016. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 7 from 5-7pm, during which the artist will be present. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring a new short story by Hudson Valley-based writer Sarah Falkner, and an essay by Iowa City-based Anya Ventura, former arts research writer at MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology.
For the last three years, Harris has worked with matrices of modular ink paintings mounted on woodblocks. Not confined to the rectangular canvas, this arrangement of diamond shapes gives the works expansive physical presence and has been described by the artist as “painting installation.” The woodblocks function not only as support for the paintings but also create a geometric structure that adds to a trompe l’oeil effect in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish pictorial illusion from actual dimensional space.
Harris recently moved to Iowa City after ten years in New York. The works in Ghost Prairie were conceived in response to the Iowa landscape, which is by many measures the most radically altered place in North America. Imagery in the paintings reference the lost expanse of Iowa tallgrass prairie. The artist has written: “I originally conceived of the project as a single monolithic wall installation filling the 35-foot wall at CSPS. Over the course of many months of developing imagery, I realized the installation needed more empty space devoid of images to evoke an experience of the simultaneous presence and absence of an entire dimension of the landscape. This is what I was interested in evoking. I was thinking about ghosts and about how a ghost is a presence that reveals something about our minds and our relationship to history. Through the activity of painting and arranging, I discovered that a more atomized composition stretching around the entire room was more suitable. The way the images in the paintings interact with the blank walls became a central concern.”
Support for Ghost Prairie provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information, contact Jen P. Harris: 917-804-4987; firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Artist
Jen P. Harris leverages the generative powers of a studio-based art practice to grapple with prevailing cultural narratives and re-imagine what is possible in the world. Her creative work explores the artistic and revelatory possibilities at the intersection of drawing-based processes, material experimentation, and installation. Harris’s work has been presented throughout the United States at venues including Daniel Cooney Fine Art (NYC); John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY); Artplace (Los Angeles); Legion Arts CSPS (Cedar Rapids, IA); Baltimore Museum of Art; and Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington). She received a BA in Studio Art from Yale University (1999) and an MFA from Queens College of the City University of New York (2008) and currently lives in Iowa City, IA.
About Legion Arts
Legion Arts is an award-winning, Cedar Rapids nonprofit dedicated to the creation, presentation, understanding and impact of contemporary art. Based at CSPS, a restored landmark building on the edge of downtown Cedar Rapids, Legion Arts presents cutting edge art, music theatre, film and other events at a variety of venues; supports young artists, experimental art forms and new ideas; and works to involve artists and the arts in the processes of community development and neighborhood building.
From Iowa City, I-80, airport and points south
Take I-380 north to exit 19: Diagonal Drive. As you exit, bear right onto Diagonal Drive, and follow it for 4 blocks, as it turns into Eighth Avenue and you cross the Cedar River. Once you’ve crossed the river, go three blocks; turn right on Third Street. Continue three blocks to 11th Avenue. CSPS will be on your right side, above Service Press.
From Waterloo, Cedar Falls and points north
Take I-380 south to exit 20-A: Downtown via First Street. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left and pass under the highway onto First Street. After one block, turn left on First Avenue. Go two blocks to Third Street SE. You’ll see the Five Seasons Hotel on your left and Theatre Cedar Rapids on your right; turn right BEFORE you pass them. Continue ten blocks on Third Street to 11th Avenue.