The Arts Council of Princeton presents Inside Out…When Worlds Collide, an exhibition of works by three individuals who became artists by chance. The exhibit will be on display in the Arts Council’s Taplin Gallery, from January 4 through February 15, 2020.
Becoming an artist was not the initial intention for Jon Sarkin, Jennifer Levine, or Kenneth Lewis Sr. Through distinct circumstances, art and the need to create became the driving force in their lives. Despite receiving no formal training, these artists are consumed in the process. Their work conveys joy and frustration and questions life on the canvas. It is out of the ordinary, provocative, imaginative, and even obsessive-compulsive.
According to co-curators Ruthann Taylor and Colette Royal, “The show addresses the power of self-taught artistic talent and the drive of the human spirit to create.”
Meet the Extraordinary Artists
Jon Sarkin was working as a chiropractor when he suffered a massive stroke one hot day in 1988. He felt a throbbing, excruciating pain in his head and heard a ringing in his ears. After surgery, his brain began to swell and bleed. When Sarkin woke up, he was a completely different man. After the critical phase of the stroke passed, Sarkin began to have a ferocious need to draw and paint. The stroke, says Sarkin, “made art my top priority in life. It made it more important than just about anything.” Sarkin is the subject of the book Shadows Bright as Glass, which traces his journey from doctor to manically-compulsive artist.
Jennifer Levine started painting at age 40 when she was going through a divorce. “I had no experience, but needed something to hold onto as I faced the ordeal. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and it led me through a process that ultimately changed my life in the most profound and wonderful way. Through drawing and painting, I was able to unearth the depth of my being and find a way to express myself that served others,” says Levine. “Now I paint because I love the process – the feel of the paints and the brush on the canvas. I love the unknown magical alchemy of going from nothing to something. I like discovering the images that appear on the canvas I like how people react and get nurtured or informed or uplifted by the pieces.”
Kenneth J. Lewis, Sr. is a self-instructed artist who began painting on canvas at the unusual age of 47 years. Kenneth has a spiritual relationship and deep sensitivity for what he produces. On New Year’s Day 2008, Kenneth painted his first piece; he called it “Contemplation”. It was an inner reflective painting as he sat home contemplating his future after 24 years of marriage. He quickly learned he had a very raw and latent gift that could no longer be held back. Lewis painted more as a hobby from 2008 until the death of his mother in 2012. His mother could draw, yet she never attempted to embrace or further explore her talent. He knew that he had to create, not only for himself, but also for his late mother, and for generations that follow. Since that time Lewis has created enormous collections of work. To date, he has hosted/curated over 30 group shows, 22 solo shows, and participated in many group shows. He is the curator for Starbucks Trenton.
[caption id="attachment_25526" align="aligncenter" width="388"] Jon Sarkin, Cactus Head[/caption] [caption id="attachment_25559" align="aligncenter" width="331"] Kenneth Lewis Sr, Legacy of Service[/caption]