Mortality and the fragility of life have fascinated Jim Sconyers since he was a child. What started as a school boy’s curiosity has now shown itself to be a muse in Sconyers’ professional endeavors.
The Mary Baldwin University associate professor of art works in a variety of media, including printmaking, photography, digital media and sculpture. His recent work was selected for exhibition in the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art juried New Waves 2017 exhibition in Virginia Beach.
His body of work, Imago Corporis Impressa, which translates from Latin to English as “body image is imprinted,” physically embodies the question of mortality.
Extremely intricate, the work includes CNC router-cut rings and panels, graphite chine collé drawings, digital and platinum/palladium photographs and photography based sculpture. Initially Imago made its debut in Hunt
Gallery at Mary Baldwin in 2015.
The News Waves exhibition drew more than 300 artist entries; Sconyers was one of only 27 to be selected to show his work on January 28–April 16. If the professor’s work wins best in show, he will receive $2,000 in prize earnings.
Sconyers was also selected to exhibit Imago at Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art for its juried show Homeward Bound, which begins in March and runs through July
Featured images in the work are roses, plucked from Sconyers own parents’ rose garden in North Carolina.
“They call it their secret garden,” Sconyers said. “It’s kind of hidden; they have been growing them for years.”
The sculptural pieces were created through a process of cutting up the photographs and reassembling them as randomly placed, tessellated pyramids mounted on wooden circles. Each flower selected exhibits a faded beauty with poignancy that penetrates in reflection. The circles hang like vanity mirrors, capturing reflected portraits of beauty and decay in fleeting moments. The patterns that emerge through the random method of their composition create a space for reflection.
While part of the work is created through a random formula, the idea behind that method was not random at all. When viewing the circles the viewer sees 13 pyramids, chosen because of the irony surrounding the superstition with the number. Each pyramid is pasted with pieces of flowers on 30 percent of them.
At first, it is not clear that the random images are a deconstructed flower; in fact they almost look like meat or flesh. “If you’ll notice I didn’t pick the flowers in their prime and that was deliberate,” Sconyers said.
According to Sconyers, the flower in art can symbolize many different things. In his case death and the fragility of life, which is why he deliberately left the rose’s stem off, their life force.
Visit the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art’s website for more information on the New Waves exhibition.