Current Exhibit (premiers 8/6)
Artist: Mary Jennings
"Empathetic in Nature"
About the Artist
Mary Jennings lives in the Washington, DC area where she has established her
career as an artist and educator. After earning her BFA from Moore in
Textile Design, she expanded her professional skills to include interior design,
decorative/mural painting and is currently the Artist- in-Residence with
Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, VA. Over the years, her art has
appeared in juried shows, earned awards, she has appeared in HGTV
Bed and Bath shows, served as a mentor and judge for eBay business start-up
competitions, and facilitates corporate groups with art related team building and
creative branding exercises.
This is a series that came about organically and almost by accident. I was at a point in my creative process where I needed to establish a listening posture. At the end of 2019. I was in a transition with my art career. Was about to resign my position as Director of a local art academy and knew that I was moving my art studio from a busy studio/gallery setting to the dining room of my house. I was at ta point win my art making that I knew I had to dig deep within. I wasn’t satisfied with creating works for shows and sales. I was caught up in the product of art itself and not enough of the process of art making. At that point, I committed to declining all art submission opportunities. This exhibit is marking my return.
The first group of four works in this series are abstracts that were only based on making marks. From these I began to form the story and developed an interest in empathy; understanding before being understood. While creating these four abstracts, I researched the Four Stages of Empathetic Listening.
A genuine curiosity about this illusive topic, the never before experienced pandemic and my inclination towards nature for deeper understanding, enabled this series, Empathetic By Nature to be born.
I am pleased with the results of creating this series. It seems to address my desire to teach through my art images. As an instructor and coach, I gain further understanding through the preparation to teach. Empathy seems so undervalued and as I began to study it, I kept being drawn to examples of it found in nature. I was able to lean into my role as master gardener for study of subject matter.
Nature has a way of reminding me of what’s important if life. These paintings are inspired images from my life and surrounding neighborhood that brought aspects (listening, understanding, misunderstanding, perception, relationships, joy, hope, posture) of empathy to mind. The structure (abstract, representational) and processes (oil on canvas, oil on board, cold wax) are varied, but the intention is to groupings that reinforce how our nature and nature itself has an incline towards understanding the complexities of empathy. Empathy is often misunderstood and undervalued. I wanted to reignite my understanding of empathy through creating this art. It is my hope that you will appreciate these images and receive the subtle reminder to be empathetic.
- Mary Jennings