When it comes to her passion for visual art, 20-something Elise Gordon can’t decide if she learned to love it or if it was just a matter of good genes.
As the daughter of a graphic designer, Elise recalls early memories of tagging along with her mother, Janice Mathews-Gordon, to work and “going to town” with professional-quality art supplies at her leisure.
“It’s been a continuous part of my life,” said Elise, who pursues visual art as a painting major at the University of Oklahoma.
Continuity serves as a key concept in Elise and Janice’s upcoming joint exhibition, Figments & Fragments, because the two have been in constant communication preparing for the show over the past several months while Elise has been at school.
“We send pictures of our work as we’re working on it and give each other feedback and inspire one another continuously,” Elise said. “We picked pieces for this show that reflect the communicative nature of that process.”
It’s plain to see their passion for art is both shared and mutually influential through the symbolic nature in both of their works, specifically their depictions of home and the human figure.
Although their works echo each other through symbolism, the two women have distinct styles based on their different artistic paths and stages of development.
“Elise is exploring so many different things, which she should be,” Janice said. “She’s a young artist who’s just kind of finding her sea legs, exploring a huge breadth of different things, and that’s just exciting for me to see.”
After working as a graphic designer for 25 years, Janice recently shifted her focus into fine arts about five years ago, so she describes her work as a “targeted exploration,” one that is simultaneously reflective and focused on where she’s going.
“As a mother, I love this,” she said. “It’s just been a joy to work on this exhibit and the one previously, and it gives me a reason to produce the art that I do.”
Janice and Elise put on their first show last September, and it represented a more collaborative effort; over the summer, they were able to communicate in person rather than through a long-distance setup.
However, the result of that communication will be the same as the first show. The figments and fragments of one another will culminate to reveal not only Elise and Janice’s relationship but also their relationship with art.
“We play off of one another continuously,” Elise said, “so it’s rewarding to be able to express that and put together something that reflects it for other people to see.”
Like their first joint exhibition, 10 percent of the proceeds from sales will go toward a local organization close to the Gordons called Heels for Hope, which raises awareness of ovarian cancer and funds for Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medical Center.
Figments & Fragments opens Friday at In Your Eye Gallery, a cooperative gallery that permanently houses Janice’s work and a staple of The Paseo Arts District.