Friday was special! I snuggled up with the family, practiced social distancing and joined juror Julia Franklin and board member John Mark Robert Feilmeyer announce the winners of Iowa Exhibited XXXV, via live stream. What a time we are living in now! On June 11th, 2020 I submitted three works to the digital exhibit at The Polk County Heritage Gallery. Six days later I received an inbox alert...an email from the gallery, the results! Did I get into the show? Yes, yes I did and now, I was glued to my desktop monitor. My son had his laptop open, eagerly reading the comments, as Julia and John moved along. My Mom had her cellphone...it was truly a digital delight! My son's laptop had a speed about 5 seconds faster than the laptop, so as I watched the monitor he called out ahead, "Jill! Your next!" Being announced as one of three Merit Award winners was honor enough, however what made this moment a real victory, was the painting Julia Franklin selected. The magnitude of this painting to me is almost indescribable. Inspired by Niccolo dell Arca, Lamentation over the dead Christ or Sorrow over dead Christ, this work allowed me a safe space to process the loss and life of my only biological son, who passed from SIDS 15 years ago. Though there is tremendous pain in this painting, my hope is there is also comfort for those who gaze upon it. Not comfort of an answer or an outcome, just plain and simple comfort...in the moment comfort. I took a drive after the live stream ended and in my heart I told my son William...We did it.
Check out the entire show at www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org