Exhibit reshapes perception of art; Artist challenges traditional interpretation in Building 11 gallery

Grace Madden Huang, an English as a Second Language student, views the Geometry of Hope exhibition in the Building 10 gallery.Photo: Penny Scott
Grace Madden Huang, an English as a Second Language student, views the Geometry of Hope exhibition in the Building 10 gallery.
Photo: Penny Scott

Jeanne Heifetz is a New York-based artist whose collection, Geometry of Hope, is inspired by the difference between what we think we see and what we actually see.

Shadows, which have no independent existence, but are part of how the brain works, are an important aspect of the collection, Heifetz said.

Heifetz sets rules for each piece she creates to give herself a framework from which to work. From there she improvises and enjoys the freedom that comes from having a sense of ongoing dialogue with her work where she’s constantly making decisions.

Nikky Allen, a media arts student who works in the gallery, said the exhibit is attracting a lot of attention. People ask him questions regarding the materials used by the artist and the effects she is creating.

“People are really curious,” Allen said. “I’ve watched many people go in and look through the fabric at the reflection on the wall. For myself, I was thinking about getting my computer out and looking up effects of color on visual 3D.”

Heifetz says there’s no intended message in her work. She presents what fascinates her, trusting that the same things will fascinate others.

“The art really catches my eye,” Lane student Grace Madden Huang said. “It’s so different.”

The main elements Heifetz uses in her work are colored glass rods, stainless steel mesh and silver and copper coated wire. It’s essentially embroidery for the 21st century, she said.

“Oftentimes we consider drawing and painting as the standard mediums in 2-dimensional art, and it can sometimes be difficult to see past the traditional forms of art,” Jennifer Salzman, media arts instructor said. “I find this exhibition to be an exciting use of alternative materials.”

The way the room is lit plays an important role in what happens to the shadows, Heifetz said. During the day the shadows can appear muted. When the light subsides in the early morning or afternoon, the interior lighting will pick up the drama of the shadows.

Lane gallery staff were in charge of selecting the lighting for the exhibit.

“Jennifer (Salzman) has chosen a very elegant presentation with a single shadow so, you have a sense of dialogue with just the two talking to each other,” Heifetz said.

Color plays an important confidence that your senses are working,” Heifetz said. role in the collection, both for its inherent beauty and in the context of the difference between perception and reality.

“Color is one of the elemental joys of being human,” Heifetz said.

Heifetz uses shift tint glass for some of her pieces, in which the color of the glass completely changes with different light sources.

“If you look at something and say that it is that color, it gives you a certain faith and “But if you move that same object into a different light source and it’s suddenly a different color, that’s a very disorienting sensation.”

Geometry of Hope is a tribute to a collection of art owned by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, which comprises art by a group of postwar Latin-American artists whose work was shown together under that title. It will be on display in the Building 11 gallery until May 22.