By Nicole Veenstra
Jamie Greenfield’s Bodies of Work, the latest exhibition being shown in Rider University’s Art Gallery, opened on Thursday, and will remain on display until Sunday, Oct. 23.
The collection of 35 pieces is mostly focused on drawings of the human body in its natural form, while still managing to incorporate a few detailed doll drawings into the mix.
At first glance, one may wonder why the two types of drawings are collaborating to form a single exhibit when the subject matter is so different, but one thing all the drawings have in common? They are sure to get a reaction.
Dr. Harry Naar, professor at Rider and director of the Art Gallery, hopes that people will “come to their own conclusions” about the exhibit. He added, however, “It’s interesting because she is a female artist dealing with both male and female figures.”
He said he asked Greenfield to show in the gallery for its educational value.
“I thought showing drawings would be really advantageous to the students because we teach drawing here, including drawing of the figure,” said Naar. “Students [can] also see how an artist [can] take something that may seem insignificant—like a doll—and transform it into art.”
Greenfield spends her time in Lawrenceville, where she works with students of her own, teaching various art classes at The Lawrenceville School.
“I usually try a lot of different things and walk all around until something strikes me,” she said.
The main subjects of her exhibition are the bodies of both a male and a female, which she says she has always been fascinated by.
“From my first Life Drawing class as an undergraduate art student, I have been devoted to the beauty and the challenges confronted when capturing the form of the human body,” she said in a statement on Rider’s website.
In the beginning of her career, however, her dreams of drawing the figure were bigger than she could afford.
“When I first started working—in grad school—I couldn’t afford to pay a model so I decided to use dolls to stand in,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield goes on to explain the connection between both her and the dolls, as well as between the dolls and the rest of the drawings in the exhibit, as the relationship between the two types of drawings may not be immediately apparent.
Using the dolls as models “led me to a whole new exploration into [the feelings] people project onto [them],” she said. “I just started playing with things like you would play with dolls. You start acting out emotions with these objects and that was really fascinating to me.”
Unlike drawing an inanimate object, such as a doll, drawing from the model can put a strain on time, money and the model. When asked how long it usually takes to create and complete a drawing, Greenfield said it usually takes about two sessions per drawing, at six hours per session, using tape to outline the models during the few brief rest breaks they can take.
“Sometimes I needed a third session just for his hair,” Greenfield said, trying to conceal her laughter while discussing the dreadlocks on her male model.
Regardless of the fact that Greenfield has had her work displayed in a wide variety of colleges and galleries throughout her career, there is one thing she still finds tough.
“The most difficult part is making the whole picture come together,” Greenfield said during a recent interview. “Remembering that a whole is more than the sum of its parts [is necessary] to make something look beautiful on the page.”