Jenna Avriel Rice

In Residence: June 4 – August 3, 2012
Exhibition: opens Thursday, August 2, 2012;
continues through August 31
Learning Lab: ArtLab

Helen’s Home: reflections on aging
Opening Reception: August 2, 5:30 – 8pm

Jenna Avriel Rice’s summer residency culminates with the exhibition Helen’s Home. Rice’s exhibition reveals aspects of the life of her 96-year-old adopted grandmother (Helen Kneale, with whom Jenna has had a life-long relationship) through photography. Over her lifetime, Helen filled her mountain homestead with an abundance of collected objects. Memories were encapsulated in the carefully preserved objects, but as she grew older, Helen realized that she could not preserve one vital thing: her own body. Featured in Rice’s installation is an abstract wooden homestead, filled with images expressing the complex process of preservation and decomposition…a deeply felt story of an elder.

Imagine: You have lived your life as a fiercely independent woman—you are the daughter of Rocky Mountain homesteaders, never married, worked as a weapons inspector during World War II, and had no children of your own. You have maintained the family homestead with sweat, strength, and dedication. Then, as you settle into your 90s, relying on your own hard work—a critical element of homestead life—is no longer possible. As much as you fight it, letting go of independence and surrendering to the aging process is no longer optional. Helen’s Home is a visual and textural installation that focuses on the uncomfortable and often taboo subject of aging. My hope is that if we allow ourselves to be present with the discomfort of it, we will see through the wrinkled skin and weakened bones of our elders and be reminded of the significant strength that resides within them—honoring a life well lived.  ~ Jenna Avriel Rice

ArtLab interns collaborated with Jenna to explore the theme of “capturing memories” from elders. Supported by a collaboration with Bessie’s Hope, each teen was matched with one or more elders living in assisted living/nursing homes in Denver. Throughout the summer ArtLab interns met weekly with their elder, sharing stores and photographing them in their environment. The exhibition features photographic artist books created by each student expressing the unique story of their elder. PlatteForum is transformed into a world of multi-generational stories where viewers are seeped in the richness and diversity of life, and perhaps inspired to learn more about the lives of their elders. Jenna earned her B.A. in mixed media art and multicultural atudies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and studied at the International Center for Photography (ICP) in NY and at the Maine Media Workshops, ME. Her work has been exhibited and published at venues in New York, Colorado, Maine, Washington State, Mexico City and Jalapa, Veracruz, MX. She is a member of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Visit Jenna’s website.