Three female Iowa artists who use art to confront personal challenges are sharing their experiences through a new display in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ formal office at the State Capitol.
The Iowa Women’s Art Exhibit features pieces by Emily Jalinsky of Iowa City, Karla Conrad of Des Moines and Angela “Ange” Altenhofen of Chariton. The exhibit is to be on display through the end of December and is available for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Jalinsky has spent a lifetime dealing with depression and a sleep disorder, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office. With the help of teachers, she turned to art as a way to express her anxiety and frustrations while seeking strength and clarity about her challenges.
In her works, she focuses on meditation and the comfort of repetition in patterns that alleviate hopelessness and anxiety.
In “An Appearance of Hope,” the intaglio etching incorporates multiple layers that move between the worlds of print and mixed media with an embroidery of gold that symbolizes light.
In “Peace in Letting Go,” she uses a silk screen image of lichens as a symbol of resilience and continuing growth.
“Lichen is a symbiotic and slow-growing organism that can survive for hundreds of years,” Jalinsky said in the release. “Not only can it survive but it can feed others. It’s not center stage here, but it’s the image I repeat.”
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On the other hand, Jalinsky said she also writes down three things she has to let go every day — good, bad or otherwise — and incorporated some of them into the piece.
“It’s very personal but it’s fun,” she said. “Really, though, to be able to grow as human beings we have to let things go and allow ourselves to transform. That piece was a pivotal turning point for me.”
The exhibit series, which rotates artwork from female artists semiannually, was created in 2014 by then-Lt. Gov. Reynolds and the Iowa Arts Council.
“Creative expression plays such an important role in the healing process,” Reynolds said in the release. “Art connects with individuals in deeply personal and emotional ways.
“I am proud to showcase each of these artists, their works and their stories in this display. It’s worth your time to see these pieces and learn more about the incredible women behind them.”
Veronica O’Hern of the Iowa Arts Council said in the release the works are in different mediums and have their own identities.
“But all rise from places of personal darkness and seek out the light, both in terms of their composition and the messages they convey,” she said. “They are hopeful and living proof of the healing powers of art.”