The Kent State University School of Art Collection and Galleries and the Wick Poetry Center present: Home to Sargasso Sea: A long journey of loving collaboration, Paintings and Poetry by Jessica Damen & Maj Ragain. The exhibition will be on view at the KSU Downtown Gallery from June 1 - July 14, 2018. There will be a reception on Friday, June 1 during the new First Friday Art Walk in downtown Kent from 5-8 p.m. with a gallery talk and special remarks at 7 p.m.
All the work featured in this show is part of a collaboration that took place over an eighteen-year period between Damen and Ragain. They met in 2001 as resident fellows at the Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) in Provincetown, MA, which started the “call and response” collaboration between the two. This exhibition features over twenty paintings created by Damen, paired with nineteen of Ragain’s poems.
There is website that has been produced in concert with the exhibition and there will be a full color catalog available for purchase.
The KSU Downtown Gallery is located at 141 E. Main St. in Kent, Ohio. Gallery hours are Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
About the artists:
Maj Ragain (September 15, 1940 – April 19, 2018) was born into a small, southeastern Illinois farm town. Home-tutored and raised on Vernor Lake, he earned a B.A. in English at Eastern Illinois University, and an M.A. in English at the University of Illinois. He was on faculty, off and on, at Kent State University since 1969, where he obtained his PhD in 1990. He is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry and five book-length collections.
Jessica Damen, dubbed the “Lewis Carroll of Baltimore” by renowned artist, Grace Hartigan, is known for her narrative, oil and ink brush paintings. Inspired by myth, fairytale, verse and the mythic in contemporary events, her paintings were described by Glenn McNatt, Baltimore Sun Art Critic, as “...surreal, sometimes nightmarish scenes of childhood anxiety that seem to hover just outside the neat categories of fantasy, expressionism or realistic depiction” (Baltimore Sun). Damen has had regular solo exhibitions at commercial and alternative galleries throughout the Washington DC – Baltimore Metropolitan region. Her paintings have been selected for invitational shows at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (DCCA) and the Maryland Art Place (MAP) and she was one of five artists included in MAP’s exhibition, “Athena’s Daughters” curated by Grace Hartigan.
This exhibition is presented by the Kent State University School of Art Collection and Galleries and the Wick Poetry Center with support from the Ohio Arts Council.