“Longing and Hope” Exhibit to Open at JBU Art Gallery

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"Jesus of the People" by Janet McKenzie

Siloam Springs, Ark. (October 1, 2008) - John Brown University will welcome the works of nationally recognized artist Janet McKenzie to the JBU Art Gallery. The exhibit “Longing and Hope” will kick off with an opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 9 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. and will be open until Nov. 7. The artist’s devotion and commitment to imagery of women was influenced by the early loss of her mother and grandmother. In response to those experiences she began to incorporate diversity, children, and symbolic imagery into her work with women. One of the pieces that will be on display in the JBU Art Gallery is McKenzie’s award winning painting “Jesus of the People”. The painting was revealed for the first time on “The Today Show” during an interview with Matt Lauer. “Jesus of the People” was also selected winner of the National Catholic Reporter’s competition for a new image of Jesus by judge, Sister Wendy Beckett, host of the PBS show “Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting”. Sister Wendy said “This is a haunting image of a peasant Jesus – dark, thick-lipped, looking out on us with ineffable dignity, with sadness but with confidence. Over His white robe He draws the darkness of our lack of love, holding it to Himself, prepared to transform all sorrows if we will let Him.” “I first saw Janet McKenzie’s work featured in a number of publications and thought her imagery as well as the conceptual foundation for her work was very strong,” said Charles Peer, coordinator of the gallery. “When you view her paintings you are challenged to consider the character of Christ more than simply the image of Christ. I was thrilled that she accepted our invitation to exhibit in our gallery. We are quite fortunate that we will have a selection of her large paintings on display. Her work is much in demand and widely exhibited in galleries across the United States and many pieces have graced the cover of national publications.” McKenzie studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Art Students League in New York City. McKenzie was the youngest recipient of the Edward McDowell Traveling Scholarship, the most prestigious award from the Art Students League. The scholarship allowed her to spend a year in Europe for study and travel. McKenzie’s book “The Art of Janet McKenzie: Empowering Holiness” is set to be published in 2009. It will contain 24 paintings published with commentary and reflections by 24 women writers and theologians including The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church -The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), Sister Wendy Beckett, Paula D'Arcy (Red Bird), Diana Hayes & Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), among others. The JBU Art Gallery is located in JBU’s art building on the main campus in Siloam Springs. Normal gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoon from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. All gallery exhibits are free and open to the public. Prints and cards of her paintings will be available for purchase through the JBU Art Department Office.

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