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“Being With” Exhibit Opens Feb. 10 at STLCC-Forest Park

January 31, 2014

Andrea Keys Connell sculpture  
Works by Andrea Keys Connell will be exhibited Feb. 10-
March 7 at STLCC-Forest Park's Gallery of Contemporary

Andrea Keys Connell will present her new exhibit, “Being With,” Feb. 10-March 7 in the Gallery of Contemporary Art at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

An opening reception will take place 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the gallery. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday. For more information, call 314-644-9350 or 644-9231.

Connell will give a two-day figure sculpture demonstration 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Wednesday, Feb. 5, and Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Art Annex – Room AA-107. She will give a lecture at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Art Annex – Room AA-110.

Connell works in clay, wood, paint, stains, ink and cardboard. She is an assistant professor and head of ceramics in the craft and material studies department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

Connell is interested in the study of intergenerational trauma and third generation Holocaust survivors – how trauma transforms the interior life of individuals. Her sculptures and writings are driven by a desire to investigate how an individual’s personal history affects their identity, behaviors, and actions.

“My ultimate aim is to dissolve the characteristics of gender, age, and time. By removing these definitions I am attempting to remove the authority of their constraints, to encounter pain unencumbered by their weight, and to represent trauma as it is most viscerally experienced,” she said. “The constant pressure I apply distorts and swells the figures.”

Their ambiguity of gender, age and time allows her to explore the burden of our most enduring archetypes.

“These archetypes are well known: the hero, the martyr, and the warrior, are several I have explored. I am interested in how these archetypes impose mythic expectations and pre-existing narratives that exile individuals from their own experiences. If archetypes exist to give a definition and meaning to existence, my work explores what happens when they implode upon the person,” she said.

One of her recent exhibits, “…Gently Down the Stream…” began with a simple observation of newspaper photos depicting individuals. She discovered that whether confronted with natural disasters, war, or engaged in protest, that people often shared a similar expressiveness, body language, and composition.

“These images of people with anguished faces and strained bodies, recurring again and again, become, in their repetition, timeless and interchangeable. But the insistent beat of time moves the individual past the captured image. And what seems interchangeable is often a truly singular and defining event for the person in question. In attempting to return to the memory of that moment they become captive to it,” she said.

“Often the body language of my sculptures suggests there is something that only they can see. The viewer witnesses a representation of their pain undefined by constructs. Here, I hope, the viewer’s reaction points them to what might be the most raw and illicit opposite of pain - empathy, compassion, and even the beginnings of love,” Connell said.

Connell was born in Manassas, Va., in 1980. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, studied at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge after that, and then finished her master’s in fine arts at Ohio University in Athens. She was the resident artist and received a fellowship in 2010.

She has been selected for solo and group exhibits throughout the country during the past seven years. She often presents workshops and lectures as a visiting artist, and has been featured in publications. She was named an Emerging Artist in a 2009 Ceramics Monthly.

For more information, visit http://andreakeys.com/home.html.