“This is something I never thought would come to pass,” said Jennifer Williams, waving to the gallery space around her. “I’ve worked really hard. I feel good about it. I feel great.”
Jennifer, an alumna of MCC-Penn Valley, has every reason to feel great. She has the distinction of being a second-year studio resident with the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Urban Culture Project, which paved the way for her first solo exhibition.
The exhibition, NOW IS THE ONLY THING THAT’S REAL, is currently on display at the Foundation’s Project Space in downtown Kansas City. Working in acrylic paint and ink markers on canvas, paper and particle board, the series was originally meant to explore life and rebirth, death and regeneration. As the work progressed, recent news stories have influenced those themes to encompass the ongoing debate about the right to life, the right to quality of life, and freedom to choose death. Jennifer cites such artistic influences as Jenny Holzer and Mark Rothko, as well as her interest in technology, philosophy and scientific inquiry.
During the exhibition, Jennifer will have a mural in progress so visitors can watch the artist at work. When the mural is completed, guests will be invited to help Jennifer whitewash over it.
“I want to capture the idea of time,” explained Jennifer. “How it’s fleeting, it’s temporary, it’s a flash. The wall will go back to its original state, and then become something new.”
A lifelong KC resident, Jennifer attended Penn Valley from 2007-2009, at which time, she was firmly steeped in the humanities, taking courses in graphic design, art and writing.
“I enjoyed my time there. I had some great instructors, like Jessica Manco and Anthony High,” said Jennifer. “When I first started at Penn Valley, I was in a bad place. I was working a terrible job. I was kind of wayward. My time there helped me get oriented. It opened me up to the idea that I had a future.”
After completing MCC coursework, Jennifer went on to receive a B.A. in English from Rockhurst University, with minors in art and philosophy. In that time, her work has appeared at several local events, including the Gamelan Genta Kasturi Performance, the One Eleven Cocktails for a Cause and Observation/Hypothesis/Experiment. She has been a cover artist for Infectus magazine and a contributing artist to the Rockhurst Review.
Jennifer plans to return to Penn Valley soon to take some additional courses. Eventually, she plans to pursue her M.F.A. “I love the work I’ve done, but I’m always looking forward to future opportunities.”
NOW IS THE ONLY THING THAT’S REAL will run through May 17 at Project Space, 21 East 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105.
Gallery Hours: Wed, Fri, Sat, 12-5 p.m., Thurs, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closing reception: May 17, 5-9 p.m.
For more information about the exhibit, please visit the Charlotte Street Studio site.
To learn more about Jennifer and her work, please visit: www.jenniferlynnwilliams.com.