Valdosta Daily Times


June 22, 2014

The New Faces of Archetypes

Artist explores gender politics

VALDOSTA — Artist Jessica Burke draws amazing portraits of women in familiar dress and costumes but with a twist.

Walk her exhibit in the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, viewers will find Bat-Girl as the woman next door. Dorothy standing strong in the face of adulthood and Oz. There's a pregnant Vulcan Ms. Spock. There's a turtle-necked Jedi.

Burke isn't just seeking striking portraiture portrayed in highly skilled pencils.

As she notes in an artistic statement, "This work explores identity and gender politics as filtered through the lens of popular culture. This series allows the sitter to assume the persona of a fictional character from film, literature or television that was particularly influential during their formative years. The media we eagerly consumed as young people, and continue to consume throughout our adult lives, has unequivocally influenced how we see ourselves."

So instead of the traditional archetype, viewers discover different perspectives.

The eye immediately sees the Bat-Girl costume. Momentarily, the mind connects the dots, creating the heroic action image we know before realizing that the face behind the mask is different, older, than the one we know. Yet, no less heroic, no less remarkable, perhaps even more so.

"These drawings demonstrate that the way in which we articulate ourselves, specifically our ideal selves, is built out of the tenets given to us by popular culture," Burke notes.

"They reveal a shared sense of an inner desire to be more than the reflection we see in the mirror and closer to the impossible/improbable reflections from our smart phone, tablet, Kindle, television, computer or movie screen."

Artist Jessica Burke’s “Perception is Reality” is on exhibit in Josette’s Gallery; along with artist Susanne Schuenke’s “Stories with a Brush,” Price-Campbell Foundation Gallery; artist Nicole Rosseland’s “Sinners and Saints,” Sallie & Harmon Boyette Gallery; Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest, Jerry Tillman Gallery; student works from Art Explorations Spring Team, Roberta George Gallery.

Where: Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N. Patterson St.

Run dates: June 9 through July 30.

Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through

Thursdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sundays and Mondays, with exception of

opening reception days.

Admission: Free.

More information: Call (229) 247-2787.


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