If you hang a portrait in your home, it is as if the person in that portrait is living with you. The art can have a personal connection with its viewers through the eyes of the person in the painting.
An exhibition of figurative art, celebrating in particular the human form, provides a perfect hub for artists such as Debra Jones to display artwork that she has found such a deep connection with.
“I paint anything with eyeballs,” says Jones. “I paint things that look back at me.”
The Scottsdale artist’s work is displayed in “Go Figure: An Exhibition of Figurative Artworks,” a free show that opens Sept. 7 at Chandler Center for the Arts.
“I wanted to select a collective of artworks that celebrate the human form in a variety of perspectives,” writes curator Mary Lou Stewart, in a release. “I hope the viewer enjoys how vast and interesting the human form can be through an artist’s eyes.”
The exhibition features artwork in a variety of media, including graphite, oil, acrylics and photographs.
The artists themselves will attend a free opening reception on Sept. 7. Complimentary light snacks and beverages will be available.
Jones tells more about her artwork.
Q: How did you choose the pieces of art displayed in “Go Figure”?
A: I chose some very interesting pieces and three of them have a great story that goes behind them. One portrait is actually my mother. She was in the last stages of lung cancer when I started this drawing. I finished the piece at 4 p.m., and she passed away around 8 p.m. that same day. So, I believe she moved into that portrait. It has a sense of presence, and I talk to it a lot.
Q: What impact do you want to have on visitors to the show?
A: I want people to remember the people I painted and, of course, me. Portrait painters need to let people realize we are out there. We (painters) are not photographers, and we paint portraits and do it the old-fashioned way. What appeals to me may not appeal to someone else. I do a lot of commission work, but the better work is done when I know their personalities. For instance, when I paint young women, they have a future ahead of them so I try to convey that in my work.
Q: What goes into creating a piece of your figurative artwork?
A: I used to go to an open studio with models and draw from life. And I think good portrait painters do draw from life. When I acknowledge a person, I paint from my observation. I am not a creative artist. I look at a person and see their face, and I create what I have seen so that you can see, through my eyes, what I have seen. It’s more like a reflection of a person through my eyes.
Q: What inspires you and your artwork?
A: It’s the weirdest thing. A lot of people say, ‘I don’t have anything to paint.’ It’s the opposite with me. I have too much to paint. I like to do something challenging that stretches me each time, and that is my inspiration at this time. If I was extremely wealthy and had my own studio, I would spend all of my time in there.
Q: What do you do when you are not creating art?
A: Trying to find people to buy it! A lot of people ask me what my hobbies are, and a lot of people paint for a hobby. I live to paint. I meet interesting individuals through painting. I also do pet portraits. I like to donate my artwork to charities, as well.
If you go
What: Go Figure: An Exhibition of Figurative Artworks
When: Opening reception is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 7. Exhibition open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 27.
Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave.
Information: (480) 782-2695 or ChandlerCenter.org
• Nichole, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org