The East Arkansas Community College Gallery in Forrest City presents Grounded and Growing, an exhibition by artist Jessica Mongeon of Ozark, Arkansas. The exhibit will run through the end of December.
Artist Jessica Mongeon's acrylic paintings examine systems of nature and environmental issues. A native of North Dakota, Jessica Mongeon is an Assistant Professor of Art and Foundations Coordinator at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Dakota and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting degree from Montana State University.
In the Grounded and Growing exhibit, Mongeon speaks to both physical and emotional growth through her artwork by depicting trees that are solidly rooted in the ground seeking sunlight and support from the surrounding landscape. The colorful paintings are abstracted to various degrees from saturated versions of reality to expressive complimentary contrasts.
"These acrylic landscape paintings symbolize changes in my life since moving to Arkansas and putting down roots, which included purchasing our first home and having a child," said artist Jessica Mongeon. "When I chose the title for this exhibit, I was watching my stomach grow larger each day and adjusting to the physical and mental shifts of becoming a mother," she added.
The paintings in the Grounded and Growing exhibit's "Napscapes" series were completed during Mongeon's early postpartum months as she struggled to find her center again. "I escaped the isolation of caring for a newborn during the COVID-19 pandemic through painting from photographs that I had taken throughout the years while hiking in Arkansas, even though I wasn't able to get out of the house at the time," said Mongeon.
Many of the pieces included in the exhibit depict Petit Jean State Park, Mount Magazine State Park, and the St. Francis-Ozark National Forest. "By featuring the unique landscapes of these protected natural areas, I hope to encourage people to support policies which fund their protection and to oppose decisions which may threaten them, so that they may continue to inspire future generations," she said.
Jessica Mongeon's art residencies include the Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Center at Tower View, and the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation. Her artwork has been displayed nationally and internationally through juried exhibitions in galleries and art centers including the Painting Center in New York, the Abroms-Engel Institute of Visual Arts at the University of Alabama, 203 Art Gallery in Shaghai, China, and many more.
The EACC Gallery is located in the EACC Fine Arts Center. Daily hours for the Gallery are Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., or as scheduled for special group tours. There is no charge for admission. The virtual exhibit of Grounded and Growing is available to view on East Arkansas Community College's YouTube channel. For more information, call 870-633-4480, ext. 352.