Art alumna exhibits her work in Athens, Greece
Using oil paints and a brush, Jaime Misenheimer turns classical text into contemporary art.
Last summer, as a Carolina art student, Misenheimer attended the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, as a Magellan Scholar. Before she returned to the United States, the school invited her to come back this summer for a special exhibit of her work.
The work in that exhibit is based partly on the work she began in Greece: a visual interpretation of Hesiod's Theogony, a poem that describes the births and genealogies of the gods of the ancient Greeks. Six new paintings are on display through June 18 in the Blegen Library at the American School, which is devoted to advanced study in the humanities.
"I first read Theogony in Dr. Mark Beck's mythology class," said Misenheimer, who graduated with a BFA in studio art and a BA in art history in December 2009. "The imagery in the poem is very visually striking, and when I read it, I wanted to paint it. I wanted to create narrative, figurative works that emphasized the contemporary possibilities of mythology."
In Greece, Misenheimer specifically studied and worked from the sculpture at the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Kerameikos. From her work and research, she finalized her compositions for her paintings influenced by Hesiod's poem.
"Being in Greece and having access to their museums, I was able to study the scale and symmetry and emotive qualities of Greek sculpture firsthand and incorporate it into my work," Misenheimer said.
Misenheimer didn't begin her paintings in Greece, but she did make extensive drawings during her trip that became the blueprints for her work.
"When I was there, I was drawing constantly," she said. "I made friends with the people at the Kerameikos, which is smaller and more personable than the big museums. I would also draw all the time: on the bus, when I was with friends I met there, at the beach.
"Being in Greece and observing the culture gave me a whole other angle for my paintings," she said. "It was an amazing opportunity."
"Being in Greece...gave me a whole other angle for my paintings."
For the exhibit, Misenheimer created pieces that were smaller than her usual work to accommodate the library's gallery size and to make the paintings easier to transport. "I can roll them up and carry them on the plane with me," she said.
After the exhibit, Misenheimer will travel to Umbria, Italy, to work as a program assistant at the International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture for the rest of the summer. The University's art department maintains a study abroad program with the school. When she returns, Misenheimer will apply for graduate school to concentrate in painting. She'd also like to show the works from the American School exhibit in Columbia.
While at Carolina, Misenheimer worked on her Magellan Research Grant with Pam Bowers, an instructor in studio art who works in painting and mixed media. Bowers and David Voros, an assistant professor of painting in studio art, encouraged Misenheimer throughout her undergraduate career.
"They really helped me," Misenheimer said. "USC has given me some really great opportunities."