Jessica Muessen says that "art has always been an anchor in my life. I grew up with a very nomadic mother. We moved all over the United States and Australia throughout my youth and teen years. Due to my constantly being uprooted, I became very isolated, but I always found comfort in creating imaginary worlds through art. As I got older, I didn't pursue formal art training but submerged myself in the arts community and showed my paintings in group exhibits both locally and in other states."
"I currently own a studio and work as a professional tattoo artist in Frostburg, MD. I've been working in this art form for the past 14 years, specializing in realism and animated color work. For me, the daily practice of tattooing encourages further expression in the fine arts. As a painter, I work in various media, including watercolor, oils, acrylic, alcohol-based markers, and charcoal. I also experiment with sculpture and found art. The imagery in my paintings tends to be very animated and playful. No matter how dark the subject matter may be, I contradict it with a bright saturated color palette or introduce playful elements. This show at the Saville gallery, which I have been referring to as The Cabinet of Curiosities, will be my first exhibition of such size, a challenge and opportunity that I'm looking forward to. Works will include, but are not limited to, themes of cosmos and sacred geometry mixed with organic elements. Subject matter is juxtaposed with environment to create fantastical scenarios. As a tattoo artist, my artwork is directly influenced by tattoo culture."
Lois McManus is a metalsmith who creates wearable artisan jewelry made from sterling silver, copper, brass, and bronze. "My style is decidedly abstract, with an earthy organic feel to it. Having majored in art, I've worked in printmaking, drawing, watercolor, and oil painting. But metalsmithing has been by far the most exciting and captivating medium I've ever worked with. My love of composition and textural interest has found an expressive home in forms created with sterling or bronze wire. I incorporate gemstones, semiprecious stone, handmade lamp work beads, and even pebbles into many of my creations, and am continually experimenting and exploring the characteristics of copper, brass, and bronze and sterling silver. Craftsmanship is hugely important to me, and if it doesn't meet my very picky standards, I just won't show it at all! I strive for cleanly finished and structurally strong creations, that can withstand the rigors of being worn (as your favorite jewelry) for years and years.
"I recently inherited an old clock and a couple old watches from my parent's belongings, and it set off a whole series of thoughts about time. I hear that old clock ticking away in the hall, and realize that in the new way of observing time with battery operated watches and cell phone displays, we rarely are reminded of the constancy of time passing. This led to a sort of steampunk like series of jewelry with gears and ephemera mixed in as altered art jewelry. Mixed in with this whole thought process has been the remembrance of a recurrent dream I used to have. In the very old house where I grew up I had a recurring dream where I observed a roomful of women from another time in the very same room where I was, simply working at some tables, sewing large sheets of fabric, and quietly talking while they worked. I was struck by the contentment in the setting, the beautiful light and the calm steadiness of their work. That feeling has never left me, and while many artists express the steampunk aesthetic in a creepy horror sort of way, I like to evoke a more beautiful feeling, with the designs having a graciousness and timeless beauty. The lavaliere style pendant is a favorite form, with a main element and a secondary complimentary shape. I've fused the tiny old brass and steel gears right into the surface of the sterling silver, evocative of fossils embedded into layers of sedimentary rock. Ultimately my own form and all the things of this time will float in the surface of this planet too, and that clock ticking in the hall reminds me of that fact. I hope that the jewelry I make will stay around long enough to remind future wearers of the fact that beauty and contentment are the best things we can leave those that follow us."
For additional information about exhibitions in the Allegany Arts Council's Saville Gallery, please email [email protected], or call 301-777-ARTS (2787).