Centre College Professor of Art Judith Jia will display an exhibition of oil paintings at the Ann Tower Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Sept. 16 through Nov. 13.
The exhibit, “Quiet Beauty: Unassuming Objects, New Paintings by Judith Pointer Jia,” features 20 elegant small paintings that “capture a specific moment in time when the light is just so and striking ordinary objects, such as chairs, a wheelbarrow or a tree.” The artist interprets these subjects through her use of paint both as simply and fully as possible, rendering the essence of the situation.
Though Jia’s near two decades of instruction at Centre have primarily centered on ceramics and drawing, she says this show is significant for her in that it is has provided the first opportunity to exhibit and express herself through painting.
“I honestly don’t see a big difference between the paintings and the ceramic forms that I make,” Jia explains. “Subtle color variations and layered surfaces are important whether I’m painting with oil or glazing in ceramics.”
Of her current exhibit, the artist says her inspiration came about by an “imagination imbued with practicality and hope,” as well as her ability to perceive beauty and imagine possibilities in her daily surroundings.
“I have an appreciation for subtlety that I attribute to having grown up on the vast Great Plains of Kansas with its miles of open space and vernacular architecture,” Jia says. “Only after leaving did I realize how my eye had been trained to find aesthetic pleasure in the seemingly commonplace.
“In these oil paintings I strive to communicate the contemplative beauty I find in the ostensibly ordinary,” she adds. “I hope that my careful observation and interpretation of color within light and shadow will invite further consideration and reflection.”
Jia has taught at Centre since 1998, where she serves as chair of the College’s Humanities division, head of the ceramics studio and coordinator of the AEGON Gallery on campus. In 2016, she received the College’s Kirk Teaching Excellence award and was an earlier recipient of an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council (2004). Jia received her B.A. in studio art from the University of Kansas, completed additional coursework in ceramics at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and earned her M.F.A. at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
by Amy Clark Wise
September 14, 2016