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The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New exhibit is reflection of artists’ personal experiences

Fort Worth-based artist Jessica Fuentes plays with time and perception in “Under the Southern Cross,” one of several photo collections on display at her exhibit. Artwork by Jessica Fuentes
Fort Worth-based artist Jessica Fuentes plays with time and perception in “Under
the Southern Cross,” one of several photo collections on display at her exhibit.
Artwork by Jessica Fuentes

Logan Evans
Campus editor
logan.evans@my.tccd.edu

Artist Jessica Fuentes lives with a unique condition for someone who expresses herself with images — aphantasia, or the inability to visualize. The ideas are all there in her mind, but the shape, color and form are purely hypothetical. For her, photography is a way to document the suggestions flitting just behind her mind’s eye. A way to make those ideas real. 

In her new South Campus exhibit “Never Changing, Ever Changing,” Fuentes explores that crystallization of experience through a collection of images created during her 2019-2020 residency at the campus’ Carillon gallery. The work combines photographs taken over two decades.

“It was about visiting space, thinking about that compression of memory and time,” she said. 

Fuentes builds her visual style from the concept of in-camera double exposure — or layering two different photographs in the same piece of film. While the images in “Never Changing, Ever Changing” are layered digitally, she wanted to recreate that natural look. 

“I like the way that aesthetic references the fogginess and haziness of memory,” she said. 

Because of her aphantasia, Fuentes works with vague ideas when it comes to what images to place alongside one another. When creating her work, she combs through years of photographs and settles on a combination that will elicit the strongest response. 

“I’ve taken these photos over decades,” she said. “I know in my mind what I’ve taken photographs of. I can’t necessarily visualize them, but I know what I want to go together.” 

Two of the pieces in the collection, “La Rambla” and “Los Dedos,” bring together images from fifteen years of visiting the same location with different people in South America. Other images — like the series “Under The Southern Cross” — combine different locations altogether, collapsing distance like the folding of a map. 

Carillon gallery curator Joshua Goode praised the intimacy of Fuentes’ work.

“It’s almost like a diary in a way,” he said. “It has that feeling of family and togetherness, but there’s always a melancholia that captures our current state.”

The Carillon Gallery artist residency program brings in artists of various mediums to work with students during an academic school year. Central to the program is the gallery itself, which is a space for visiting artists and students alike to experiment. Fuentes worked on the pieces in the exhibit during her 2020 residency and continued on her own when classes shut down in the wake of the pandemic. 

“Jessica was working with our students constantly,” Goode said. “The students who were around her got to witness her creating these pieces, playing with installation and placement, and really expanding their idea of what art and photography can be.”

Visitors of the exhibition can take home an exhibit pamphlet, which includes an essay on Fuentes written by artist Raul Rodriguez. 

“The images taken during these trips are a means of capturing the roots of her movements,” Rodriguez wrote. “Fuentes creates her work with the intention to mark a time she can ultimately return to through these visual landscapes. We see the personal collapse into moments of self-reflection and the investigation of her own memories.”

The exhibition will run through Feb. 24. 

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