PUBLICLY PRIVATE: Shelley Jordon and Sarah Lightman

Sarah Lightman - Families
Oranim College, Israel 
7 May 2012- 11 June 2012
Curator: Shuli Nachshon

Publicly Private celebrates the scrutiny of intimate moments of daily life. From food diaries to family dynamics, Shelley Jordon (USA) and Sarah Lightman (UK) are two Jewish women artists from different continents and generations, who make the examination of their lives the subject of their artwork. Publicly Private plaits the domestic sphere with the complex inheritance of memory and Jewish herstory, through traditional drawings and paintings combined with contemporary technology including animations and animated installations.

Shelley Jordon - Gestapo
Shelley Jordon’s paintings and hand-painted animations and animated installations explore family life and domesticity and the intersection between interior and exterior worlds and past and present experiences. Combining wry humor with a deft hand and an exacting eye, Inhale/ Exhale examines the shifting power in mother daughter relationships while Cha Cha utilizes the popular Latin dance from the artist’s Brooklyn childhood as a metaphor for a state of mind and a state of marriage. In her on-going Mother/Daughter project, large-scale graphite portraits of mothers and their teenage daughters are accompanied by a soundtrack of the women’s reflections about their own mothers and Anita’s Journey re- imagines her mother-in-law’s experiences as a young child hidden in a coal cellar in Nazi Germany in a stream of conscious narrative. Family History explores the intersection of motherhood and daughterhood by repeatedly layering 500 painted images on one sheet of paper. As in life itself, though the previous images are buried, they remain integral to the understanding of the finished piece. Thirty Little Things is an installation of small-scale gouache paintings that celebrate everyday objects, often otherwise overlooked.

Sarah Lightman - The Book of Sarah

Sarah Lightman - The Hampstead Bible
Sarah Lightman’s on going autographical project is The Book of Sarah. It was started in 1995,and seeks to rectify the Biblical silence of her namesake, the Matriarch Sarah’s unpreserved voice, through the artist’s record of her own life in words and images. Publicly Private includes over 20 intricate tragic-comic food diary pencil drawings, a comfort eating journal that chart loneliness: “Oatcakes fill the silence when friends don’t call” and love lost: “Two bananas when I thought my boyfriend no longer loved me”. In addition there are two never seen before animation films formed of diary drawings. These are Family, a close visual reading of a family photograph that reveals sibling put-me-downs and hand-me-downs, and The Reluctant Bride which reveals the mixed emotions of the persistent cycle of life - planning the artist’s Jewish wedding, whilst knowing her desperately ill Grandfather will not live to see her under her chuppah.

Shelley Jordon - ChaCha
Shelley Jordon is an award winning Portland-based multi-media artist and Professor of Art at Oregon State University. She has had over forty one-person exhibitions nationally and internationally and was the Visual Arts Fellow for the American Academy in Jerusalem pilot program in 2010. Other numerous awards include two Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowships, a Fulbright Hays Group Travel Fellowship, an OSU Center for the Humanities Fellowship and artist residencies at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the American Academy in Rome. Her artwork and films have been exhibited internationally at venues in Jerusalem, Israel, Italy, Greece, Australia, and Hamburg, Germany where her recent film Terremoto received the “Best Art and Animation Award” at the Radar Hamburg Independent Film festival. National showings of her artwork include the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, the Frye Museum in Seattle, Washington, the Portland Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Portland Museum of Art, Portland. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her MFA from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Sarah Lightman is an award winning artist, curator and researcher who studied at The Slade School Of Art (UCL), for her BA and MFA, where she won numerous scholarships including The Slade Prize, The Slade Life Drawing Prize and The William Coldstream Sessional Prize for Excellence. She has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, and her most recent solo show was In Memoriam, at the New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge (2009). Her sketchbooks were displayed at The Moment of Privacy has Passed at The Collection, Lincoln (2010), and her self-portrait was selected for The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition, at King's Place Gallery, London (2011). Sarah Lightman is co-curating Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women with Michael Kaminer, a critically acclaimed show of 18 internationally renowned artists that opened at The Cartoon Art Museum San Francisco (2010), toured to The Koffler Gallery off-site presents at The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto (2011) and has opened at Yeshiva University Museum, New York (2011/12). As well as co-editing a book on the show to be published by McFarland (2013), Sarah co-chaired Talking about Jewish Women and Comics - a one-day symposium at Yeshiva University Museum (2012). She is researching a PhD in Autobiography in Comics at the University of Glasgow and has guest lectured at universities around the world about her research including the UK, USA and Canada. Sarah chairs the Women in Comics Conferences, and written for numerous international journals and newspapers. Sarah is a Director of Laydeez do Comics, the UK’s first women’s led comics forum.
Publicly Private will be accompanied by an illustrated brochure with two specially commissioned essays on the work of the artists. These will be written by New York artist and scholar Lois Martin on Shelley Jordon’s work, and by art historian Dr Pnina Rosenberg , who will write on: “The Book of Sarah -  Life? or Reconstruction?”

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