FPU professor featured at the Fig Tree Gallery

Chris Janzen’s work focuses specifically on human experience

FPU’s very own Chris Janzen is set to be featured at the Fig Tree Gallery for the entire month of October. The Fig Tree Gallery is considered a prestigious opportunity for local artists in the Central Valley. However, for Janzen, this is nothing new.

“This will be the fourth show that I’ve had at the Fig Tree Gallery,” Janzen said.

Although he has been featured previously, this particular body of work is different from anything Janzen has created before.

“I never know what’s going to come in the end product, but the source material has changed over the course of 10 years since grad school… My perspective and the stuff I’m encountering is different,” Janzen said.

Specifically, Janzen’s experience as a parent of two daughters has given him a new outlook on his material.

“As an artist I think that’s what all of us are doing all the time, we’re trying to remember how to be kids again, and try to remember that whatever that random thing is that’s sitting in your studio might be designed to be used one way, but you can use it in a completely different way,” Janzen said.

“As an artist I think that’s what all of us are doing all the time, we’re trying to remember how to be kids again . . .”

This ties into the overarching theme of the exhibit: human experience and the nuances of people’s day-to-day lives. In his mixed-media oil-painting entitled “Sick Kid”, Janzen depicts the “fevered-dream state”  of his eldest daughter who suffered a high fever over the summer.

“Each artwork is simultaneously a meditation on personal daily experience and a way of addressing the challenges we all face as members of society. The paintings and drawings contain symbolic subjects representing thoughts, joys, fears, experiences and experiments from my daily life as a means of seeking truth in unexpected ways,” Janzen said.

Outside of portraying real life experiences, Janzen also hopes to present art that is a “fun and exciting visual representations”.

For student artists at FPU, seeing a professor with such accomplishments in the community is encouraging. Carolee Rowe, a current student in Janzen’s sculpture class, says: “I think that any student who is interested in taking art here should be excited to learn from someone who’s established in the community and does regular art shows and is an actual working artist.”

Even students who are not taking classes from Janzen are excited about the progression he’s making as an artist. Alexis Lopez says: “I feel that seeing a professor reach out into the community is not only a good representation of our campus, but also something worthwhile and awesome.”

Janzen’s exhibit will be at the Fig Tree Gallery until the closing ceremony on October 27.

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