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Jennifer Drinkwater

Author: Heather Sauer | Image: Heather Sauer

Lenses: Seen and Be Seen, an exhibition of new work by Jennifer Drinkwater, an assistant professor of art and visual culture and the community arts extension specialist at Iowa State University, will be on display Jan. 8 through Feb. 7 at the Lewis Art Gallery at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She will give an artist’s talk at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan 19, with a reception following.

The exhibition features nine pairs of paintings that explore the perceptions of and intersections between current and former Jackson residents. One side of each panel shows an image of a resident composed to illustrate the subject’s self-image. The other side shows the subject’s view of how he or she is perceived by others. In some cases, the two views may be identical; in others, they are vastly different. The design and composition of each painting is based solely on information provided by the subject, including photographs, conversations and survey responses.

“With the pervasiveness of technology and social media, Americans interpret their worlds through a variety of lenses, both literal and ideological. These lenses shift, distort and refract our perceptions in subtle and unacknowledged ways,” Drinkwater says. “When we begin to unpack the ways that we see and are seen, we begin to recognize how our vision is never neutral or complete. This exhibition showcases the subtleties between how individual Jackson residents perceive themselves and how they believe they are perceived by others.”