Ripon College exhibit explores identity, history
Selections of artwork by Jessica Wimbley will be exhibited Nov. 8 through Dec. 5 in Caestecker Gallery, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts, at Ripon College. The artist will speak about her work in the center lobby at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8. An opening reception in the gallery will follow the talk.
Wimbley’s work investigates the concepts of identity, history, colonialism and diaspora through digital collage that includes photographic images, painting, drawing and narrative.
“The hybridity of images in the work reflect the way in which one composes culture in the digital age, integrating gazes by reflecting the mass consumption and democracy of the internet,” Wimbley says. “The finished work reflects historical artistic approaches of painting and drawing with Photoshop, collage and digital photography, itself becoming a hybrid.”
She says that, in her work, “I investigate and question identity and history, merging both the genetic and biological with socio-historical, creating narratives that shift between micro- and macro-representations. The one-drop rule — a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as Negro of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with ‘one drop of Negro blood’ was considered black — is used as a framework to consider the formation of identity.”
The one-drop rule is still used in forming understanding of race in America, she says, but is problematic in an era of shifting demographics, integration and multi-consciousness.
Using aesthetic elements such as collage, digital imagery, appropriation, panoramic landscapes and space imagery, as well as images of microscopic biological entities, provides both a conceptual and visual metaphor for the macro- and micro- galvanizing what is seen and unseen, and questioning the scope of the human experience and identity.
Wimbley’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art in Athens, Ga.; Raid Projects, California State University at Long Beach, Calif.; National Palace of Culture/Lessedra Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria; 21st Century African Youth Movement, Sierra Leon, Africa; and other galleries and institutions in the United States.
She is a recipient of the 2012 Peter S Reed Foundation Grant and is a 2012 Fellow in Association of Academic Museums and Galleries and Northwestern University’s Leadership Seminar. She has helped develop professional development workshops and activities for the Southern California Museum community and has taught studio art, art history, and visual art courses at University of California-Davis, Platt College and Mount San Jacinto Community College.
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