By Gabrielle Smith
Assistant A&E Editor
On Sept. 13, local artist Jackie Downing had an opening reception for her art exhibit, “Evocative Layering.”
The show ran for almost two weeks, Sept. 9 to Sept 22, in the Brass Rail Gallery next to Starbucks in the McFarland Student Union Building.
Five pieces were displayed and all of them were made of fibers and combined with a mixture of different materials.
These pieces were used to represent women throughout history who were limited to working around the house and who were deprived of having outgoing careers.
She used embroidery, applique and needle-felting to express a comforting, homey, safe and child-like feeling when looking at the artwork. Downing cited the time spent with her grandmother as a child as being influential to her work.
One piece, called “Child’s Play,” a 40” X 17” orange back drop, layered with quilt-like patterns portraying city buildings, which included images on each one was displayed. The images contained bicycles, streetlights and a tic-tac-toe board.
Words ran through the streets of the piece that read, “We would play in the summer until the street lights come on then run home delighted and start again at dawn.”
It represented the days before mobile phones when children would be able to tell the time of day by the streetlights when playing outside, reminding those of what it was like to be a kid in better days.
Another piece that was displayed was called “Flower Fairies,” a 15” X 16” display representing fairies made of beads, fabric and paper.
Hidden among them was a tiny mirror that was intentionally hard to find. “In this case the portal [to the fairies’ world] is the mirror and the idea is that in a child-like way, you believe in fairies you get this moment to glimpse them but it only happens for a second,” said Downing.
All of Jackie Downing’s textile artworks connect with nature and connect viewers to nostalgic and light-hearted emotions. This was also her first art show at KU.