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Textile Artists to Display Work at Thomas More

A new exhibit at the Eva G. Farris Gallery at Thomas More College is set to open on July 27 and run through August 21 and will feature textile works of both Jennifer Reis and her friend and colleague Elizabeth Mesa-Giado. 

“I believe she is putting in about 12 pieces and I am putting in 14. My pieces range from small to medium size so I think it will be a good fit for the size of the gallery,” Reis said. 

Jennifer Reis is currently Assistant Professor and Gallery Director at Morehead State University, and is both an arts professional as well as a practicing artist with a B.F.A. from the Columbus College of Art, an M.A. in Museum Studies from Syracuse University, and an M.A. in Studio Art with an Art Education emphasis from Morehead State University. 

Reis is an actively exhibiting and award winning artist whose work has been shown at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Turchin Center for the Arts in Boone, North Carolina, American Quilter’s Society Museum in Paducah, the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, HCCA Gallery in Miami, Miami University of Ohio Galleries, Southern Ohio Museum, among others. 

In 2007, she received the prestigious Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, an award designed to honor high artistic achievement. Promotions regarding her work have been featured in Art in America, ArtForum, FiberArts and Arts Across Kentucky magazines, and she was a featured artist in Creative Quilting with Beads, a Lark Books publication. 

“The work that I am exhibiting in the show is textile work. I come from a fine art and a craft background. I use fabric, and beads and found objects to make kind of a three-dimensional collage.  The majority of the work is going into the Ferris Gallery is that type of work,” Reis said.

As a teaching artist and scholar, she conducts workshops and lectures on embellished textiles, art history and appreciation, and professional practice for artists at universities, art centers, and non-profit organizations including the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh (PA), Craft Alliance in St. Louis (MO), and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville. She has served on several boards and committees to advance the arts, including Americans for the Arts and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, and has lobbied in the United State Senate for national arts funding.  Founded in her belief in the power of the education and the arts to positively affect individual lives independent of age or environment, she aims to create through higher education and arts administration, instruction, and creation, meaningful and transforming art experiences.

“I do exhibit widely and I try to make sure that my work is represented in the national and international jewelry and craft exhibitions as well,” she said. “I’ve been working with fabric seriously for about 10 years now.  I was trained from the Columbus College of Art and Design in quilt-making and painting.  So I bring composition, color, understanding art history, iconography, symbolism and I bring that information into another media.”

She said that the timing and availability to do the Thomas More show fell into place perfectly that allowed the Eva G. Farris Gallery to be able to show her and Mesa-Giado’s work.

“I actually had several shows lined up this year and I was contacted and it just happened to fit in a slot.  I have about a half-dozen exhibitions lined up between the time I drop my work of at Thomas More until basically December, so it was kind of lucky that I had an open slot.  I was happy to get the opportunity and actually I lived in Cincinnati for a few years—I worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum—so I am really familiar with Northern Kentucky and where I live, I’m only two hours south of Thomas More, so it’s a good opportunity and good timing.”

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo provided