From February 11th – March 11th, there will be an exhibition of work inspired by Fairmount Park at the Philadelphia Welcome Center at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard (Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture is the famous landmark there). The exhibit is called “A Landscape LOVE Affair”. 15 artists will be participating including Janice Hayes-Cha, an artist from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
In this exhibit, is the above work of art by Hayes-Cha: a view of the Reading Railroad Bridge and the Schuylkill River. It is a mixed media collage, 11 x 14″. It will available for sale beginning on the evening of February 11th at the opening reception from 6 -8pm.
Here is Janice’s story in her own words:
“I am originally from Boston and moved to Elkins Park in April, 2010. I have been painting most of my life: mostly watercolor and gouache, but about 3 or 4 years ago, I began doing mixed media collage.
Part of my agreement with my husband about moving here for his job was that I could quit my day job and try to be an artist for real, instead of doing just a few pieces a year. (BTW, I have 4 kids. )
Five years ago, I went through a couple of hellish years of breast cancer and then, colon cancer. I saved every get well card that friends sent in a big container near my bed. Not wanting to throw them away, I started making collages while recovering from surgery. While looking through the cards for the exact shade I needed, I loved re-reading the messages and thinking about all the great people who got me through this nightmare.
This year was my 5th anniversary of breast cancer survival, and so I completed two self-portraits that are a before and after look at cancer treatment. They incorporate five years worth of love embodied in cards and messages.”
A pretty powerful story. I have included the two self-portraits below: “Chemo” and “Health”.
Her survival story is only a part of her story. It no longer defines her work, though it was the impetus for her experimentation with the mixed media collage that helped her through a very challenging period of her life and it was the subject of her early collage work. Parts of sentences are collaged with colors, textures and patterns cut from greeting cards, giving her work poignancy. In her “Health” self-portrait, the words “Thinking of you” appear in the center of her forehead and “Deepest Sympathy” runs along the length of her nose. When I read these words, I feel a sadness and gravity in the pit of my stomach – the words add emotional weight.
Bits of words and sentences still appear throughout her Railroad collage, but are not as heavy as in her self-portraits. (“Happy Birthday” is woven into the sky.) I still want to read the words in the Railroad piece, but they have become more a part of its fabric and pattern. The weight has been lifted: in her latest work, there is whimsy and light.
To read about Janices Hayes-Chas experiencing raising four kids while dealing with cancer and its treatment, please visit http://www.newsweek.com/2007/10/13/what-s-chemo-mommy.html.
To hear an interview with Janice about the same subject, please visit http://www.newsweek.com/video/2007/11/06/living-in-the-now.html.