CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The Penn State Lehigh Valley community gave a strong show of support to the latest exhibit at the campus’ Ronald K. De Long Gallery.
On Sept. 23, the gallery held an artist reception for Jason Travers’s exhibit, “Documenting the Moment: A Visual Journal.” Numerous campus students, faculty and staff turned out for the event, as did colleagues, friends and students of Travers, a longtime Lehigh University faculty member and friend of Gallery Director and Arts Coordinator Ann Lalik.
The exhibit, which will remain on display at the De Long Gallery through Dec. 17, features Travers’s striking ink and graphite drawings documenting his firsthand excursions to a number of picturesque natural locales, from Maine’s Acadia National Park to several nearby spots, including Delaware Water Gap, Bushkill Creek and Glen Onoko Falls.
Travers’s landscapes provide a snapshot of what he is seeing in real time at a particular moment. The avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast said the drawings started as more of a personal diary of his experiences before eventually morphing into a formal project.
“This is kind of a culmination of six, seven years of work, so it was fun to pull it all together,” Travers said. “It’s so fun hearing other people’s responses to the pieces. It reminds them of trips they’ve taken to similar places, and then they make that connection to the art. Ann (Lalik) mentioned she gets a calming sense from these isolated spaces, because of that transcendence of what I felt in that moment. It’s nice that other people get that.”
“Documenting the Moment” is running in conjunction with another exhibit in the campus’s Community Gallery featuring student artworks examining significant life moments from a variety of perspectives.
For Lalik, Travers’s work holds a special resonance now as people try to process what has happened to them over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s really important for me to have exhibits where I can talk about the art to the students in a way that helps them understand how to look at art. I’m always looking to show a diversity of art, and I thought this would be something a little different from what we’ve done recently,” Lalik said. “We originally scheduled the exhibit for January 2021, but because of COVID we had to push it to the fall when we could open. Because of that, the exhibit took on a whole different meaning. The title, ‘Documenting the Moment,’ lent itself to this post-pandemic ‘how did we get through it’ kind of theme. It gave the students and me this entirely different way to talk about this moment we’re living through.”
Among those attending the opening was Allentown native and internationally known jewelry and sculpture artist Thomas Mann, who has previously exhibited his work at the De Long Gallery.
“I’ve always been interested in seeing the events that Ann puts together in this space,” said Mann, a New Orleans resident. “Jason’s work is interesting to me because I’m also a painter. His work is really stunning because he’s focused in on a particular kind of technique and a particular kind of theme and a particular kind of setting for the work. And he has worked and worked and worked to make that ability shine and be really fluid for him.”
Travers has been a Lehigh faculty member in art, architecture and design since 1999. There, he has taught courses in two-dimensional design, drawing, painting, color theory, digital foundations and graphic design. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions both locally and nationally, and he was selected as the artist-in-residence for Acadia National Park in in the summer of 2014.
The De Long Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on the exhibit, contact Lalik at [email protected] or 610-285-5261, or visit the De Long Gallery website at: lehighvalley.psu.edu/gallery/ronald-k-de-long-gallery.