Jessie Van Rooyen will be exploring mental illness in an upcoming show called “Retracing Social Practice.”
This is the first official show for this emerging Maple Ridge artist, whose series called Through a Glass Darkly examines the gap between how people understand mental illness and what it looks like to deal with on a daily basis.
The title is a reference to 1 Corinthians 13:12, which says: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Van Rooyen interprets the verse as seeing reality and life through a dark mirror. How we cannot know or understand everything, but that one day, when we are face to face with God, everything will be revealed to us.
She believes it speaks to the way we, as a society, don’t see people clearly. That we often see what is on the surface, and sometimes get glimpses into people’s inner landscapes, but that we don’t often see them clearly as a whole.
“Mental illness looks different on everyone and its often at times difficult to actually see or notice if someone has mental illness or what exactly that means for them,” she said.
Van Rooyen, who deals with depression and anxiety herself, has found working on this series a good way to put what she is feeling, especially the things she can’t put a name to, in paint.
But, she says, aside from herself, there are many aspects of mental illness that are universal and other aspects that are unique to each individual.
“I have lots of friends and family and they all deal with depression,” said Van Rooyen.
“I just found, with my own journey and knowing people who have mental illness, that a lot of times it is hard for people to understand what exactly that means when you say your depressed or you have anxiety or any kind of mental illness, really,” she continued.
Van Rooyen will have 12 pieces on display, plus a plaster cast. Her pieces are a combination of acrylic, graphite and photographic transfers. Models for the photos included some of her friends, family and herself.
The show will feature Van Rooyen and five other artists, all graduating students from the art and design program at Trinity Western University, and will include drawings and 3D art installations.
The theme of the show is social practices and how they affect thought, practice and perceptions of reality.
Opening night for the exhibit will be March 8 at 6:30 p.m., when all of the artists will be introduced and available for questions.
The show runs until April 25 at the Langley Centennial Museum, 9135 King Street in Fort Langley. Admission is free.
• For more information, go to www.langleymuseum.org.