The Center for Visual Arts Gallery, located on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, has a new exhibition Mari Elaine Lamp: Fixed Gaze, opening on October 11 and running through November 12, 2021. The opening reception is on Saturday, October 16, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. The gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  

“The subtlety of Lamp’s work rewards the viewer’s willingness to take a long, slow look,” said Amy Faris, instructor of Fine Art at Brookdale Community College. “After almost a year and a half of subjecting our eyes to the flicker of a computer screen, engagement with a quiet, material surface feels like a welcome respite.”   

Lamp’s gallery talk will occur on Thursday, October 14, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Students, faculty, and the public are welcome to attend. Admission is free. 

“One of the benefits of the artist’s gallery talk is that it provides students with models for how they might go about creating a life as a practicing artist,” Faris said. “I think that Mari Elaine’s quiet determination to organize her life so that she remains connected to her art-making process and her willingness to share her struggles with mental illness and anxiety will be a source of inspiration for our students.” 

Mari Elaine Lamp has always been drawn to images of the intimate. Moving around a lot with her family when she was young meant that at an early age she developed an awareness of her own subjectivity, learning to see herself in relation to what surrounded her. Her interest in the most familiar space, that of the body has taken her deep into artistic traditions of realism. 

Of her work, Lamp has said, “I’m interested in the blurred line between quietness that suggests rest and stillness that evokes desperation. Is my hiding place a sanctuary or a prison? Can the way I see myself really be trusted? These questions point to how my lifelong struggle with mental illness informs my work. I’ve come to think of the effects depression and anxiety have on my body as my superpower. My limitations require me to reckon with my own weakness and extend empathy where I might not otherwise. As I, along with the rest of the world, have been forced to slow down and spend more time indoors and more time alone with myself, these visions have become all the more potent.” 

The work presented in Fixed Gaze straddles the pandemic timeframe, during which Lamp’s themes of isolation, domestic interiors, and issues of perspective played out and were intensified through long months of quarantine. 

Mari Elaine Lamp is a painter and installation artist living and working in Philadelphia. She received an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2017 and a BA in Art and Writing from Houghton College. Her work has been shown at The Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, On Stellar Rays in New York, the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Virginia, and the Katzen Art Center at American University. In the summer of 2016, she attended the Chautauqua School of Visual Art summer residency. In addition, she is an art instructor at Holy Family University, where she teaches drawing and is a member of AUTOMAT, an artist collective, and gallery in Philadelphia. 

Go to the Center For Visual Arts Gallery (CVA) website page for more information about this exhibition and other upcoming exhibitions.