Wednesday 13th December 2017,
The Transcript

Ross Museum receives dream-like makeover

A piece from Elizabeth Fergus-Jean's "Dreamscapes" exhibition, now on display at Ross Art Museum. Photo by Olivia Lease

A piece from Elizabeth Fergus-Jean’s “Dreamscapes” exhibition, now on display at Ross Art Museum. Photo by Olivia Lease

By Olivia Lease
Transcript Reporter

There are three new exhibits at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, one of which was  specifically designed for the museum that will never be showcased again.

All of the work on exhibit was done by a husband and wife duo from the Columbus area, Elizabeth and John Ferges-Jean. Previously, they had never shown their work together.

The exhibit opened Nov. 9 and will remain up until Dec. 18.

The first exhibit, “Dreamscape” was done by Elizabeth Fergus-Jean. It showcases 100 white paperclay boats floating amidst tree limbs.

Elizabeth said that the tree limbs were very difficult to come by and she had to contact several different Columbus tree-trimming services.

It was important for her to use real, rather than fake branches.

“One of the things that I really like to do with my work, because it is environmentally based, is to have people reconnect their direct relationship with nature and reestablish the beauty and wonder and profound impact,” she said.

She had no say in what type of branches she received.  Originally, her concept didn’t involve leaves but as an installationer, she said she has to be malleable. In the end, she was given a truck full of ornamental pear tree limbs the day before installation began.

Students in the Gallery Management class typically spend 6-9 hours working on an exhibit the week before it is opened.

Senior Sarah Sakov said that “when I ended up helping, there were branches spread out all over the floor of the entry way.” Sakov said she enjoyed collaborating with the artist and getting to see her realize her vision.

“Dreamscape” required some back-up to be called in. Elizabeth said that seven of her grad students at Columbus College of Art and Design did a fabulous job helping her.

Ross Art Museum’s Director, Justin Kronewetter said they did not foresee the extra costs coming with this exhibit. Almost an extra $1,000 was spent on step ladders and scaffolding.

This exhibit was hung up in layers over the span of five days.

Elizabeth noted that the image of the boat she has been using since 1990 as a metaphor for the vessel that takes us through life.

“It just has this profound archetypal resonance for when you see it just floating, it awakens the imagination,” she said.

The second exhibit, entitled “Penumbrae” is by John Fergus-Jean.

It focuses on how with the erosion of photos, memories become more and more distant over time.

He says Penumbrae is how every shadow has a dark part but it also has a lighter part towards the edge, and that part that contains light and darkness.

“So these images to me contain the light of knowing and then the darkness of not knowing,” he said.

The size and formation of the pieces mimic original daguerreotypes. They were created in 2014 but the images he has been working with for a while.

John is a master printer and did the prints for the third exhibit, “Awe” by Izze Frances. Frances is actually a pseudonym used by Elizabeth to separate her photographic work from the rest of her work.

“The word ‘awe’ is the awe in life. To become re-enchanted with the everyday ordinary,” she said.

The photos showcased were taken in 2012 while she and John were on sabbatical.

All three exhibits can be viewed at the museum Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As well as Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

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