The Henry Lehmann Gallery unveiled its newest exhibition titled Ouroboros on Wednesday, November 14th. Ouroboros is Communications student Janier Lontoc’s first solo show in the gallery.
The curatorial statement is as follows: “Ouroboros is a collection of illustrations based upon the concepts of duality, process and individualism, each tackling these themes from different stylistic and ideological viewpoints. Each drawing represents a subject undergoing a transformation, both metaphorical and literal, whether it be growth or death and decay as an Ouroboros traditionally symbolizes.
The artist views this exhibit as a self-portrait, as the work allows him to conceptualize and portray the way he questions life, death, society and reality. The work is a manifestation of this thought process, making both the final product of the work and the process behind it equally important and visible within it. ”
When interviewing the artist about his motivation for creating this show, he stated that there wasn’t any particular motivation outside of the fact that he wanted to draw and create something new. Janier has been in a handful of gallery shows in the past, but Ouroboros is his first solo exhibition. He said proudly that it felt great to have his own show in the gallery, and that it was a great feeling to have people going to the exhibition solely to see his work.
The stand-out illustration of this exhibit is the piece titled “Diamond In The Rough”. Upon being asked about the creation process of this piece in particular, Janier explained that “the work is based on the concept of an Ouroboros, the image of a serpent devouring its out tail symbolizing process and duality. The molting process of a centipede is exactly that. This procedure is an endless cycle to a centipede until the day it dies that is.” He went on to say that this process occurs symbolically within an individual multiple times in their lifetime, and after each “molting” the individual grows and becomes stronger as a result. Janier described this idea as “construction from destruction”.
“Diamond In The Rough” is actually the second version of this drawing, as its first rendition was created by Janier one year ago for his portfolio class. He stated that the difference between this new version and the old one is that he has grown not only in his artistic ability but as a person too. This new centipede drawing to Janier does not represent a destruction of his old drawing or self, but instead a renewal.
When asked about his future goals as an artist after graduating Vanier, Janier said that “I honestly don’t know, I prefer to think of the today rather than the tomorrow”. Relating back to the concept of his gallery, Janier said that he thinks about life much in the same way as the molting of the centipede, in that he chooses to “focus on the process and not the final result and not plan too much ahead”. He went on to say that the journey is the most important part of the process, and jokes “would you skip the entire book and just read the ending?”
The final question asked to the artist was pertaining to what advice he would give to an aspiring artist. He explained “If you’re here studying at Vanier, whether you’re a drawing student, a painting student, a photo student or video student, don’t give yourself an excuse not to work. Even [making art] for fun will help you improve. Keep on practicing and just do it”
The exhibition will up until November 29th, so do not miss your chance to see the work on display!
Written by: India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner