The Milliken Art Gallery at Converse College is hosting an exhibit of the life and works of artist Judy Voss Jones through Sept. 28. An opening reception is scheduled Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. As with all gallery events, the reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Milliken Art Gallery at (864) 596-9181 or via e-mail.
Jones taught art at Converse from 1976-1993 and served as chair of the college’s art department. In 1989, she received the college’s Katherine Amelia Brown Award for Outstanding Teaching. She left Converse in 1993 for the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art where she taught drawing and painting until her death from ovarian cancer in 2004.
The exhibit of her works, entitled “A Glimpse of Beauty,” was assembled by her husband Scott Belville who is also a professor of art at the Lamar School. According to Belville, the exhibit will be something of a retrospective; along with many of the paintings Jones created within the last five years of her life after she was diagnosed in 1999, the show will feature earlier drawings and prints when she was a student at UGA, earning her BFA in graphic design in 1972 and her MFA in drawing and printmaking in 1976.
In a catalog of Jones’ works, which will be available for purchase at the exhibit, Belville says that over the course of 15 years, Jones’ paintings evolved as she used gathered images, fragments of her life and traces of her own experience. “Judy has left her visual poems for our pleasure. With a warm visual intelligence, she shares with us her glimpse of life’s delicate beauty. There is no fluff in these paintings. They never pander to decoration, yet they are exceptionally beautiful and possess a certain lightness of being. Can art still do that, be as simple as that, and still be relevant? You will have to draw your own conclusions.
“Judy never lost focus (after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer), but with great fortitude she painted more urgently than ever, even as she was considering her life’s new agenda,” Belville said.
Belville and Jones met as young art students in Italy in UGA’s Cortona Studies Abroad Program and returned many times over the years. After Jones’ death, Belville established a scholarship for the program in her name and it has taken off quickly. “Students who maybe had her for just one class would donate (to it). She really had an effect on a lot of people,” he says. Funds from sales of prints and the exhibit catalog will go to the scholarship fund.