MFA artist presents “Reflections of Our Timeâ€

Photo: Brandon Warnock

Rashida Otunba

Plastic takes on a new use as Georgia Southern University graduate student, Janet Suarez, presents her abstract 2-D oil painting exhibit “Reflections of Our Time.”

A Fort Lauderdale native, Suarez creates her paintings by photographing still lives using plastic containers as lenses to distort the image. Then she zooms in and crops the image so she can collage them to paint the images on a canvas.

“We have distorted views of how we experience light and nature. Today people experience nature secondhand through television, internet, and that type of media which is very distant. I grew up in nature camping and swimming, so today people experience nature very differently,” Suarez said.

The paintings are a collision between the natural and the artificial worlds and focus on the changing nature of light and pattern and how each person experiences these things as individuals.

My goal is to draw the viewer into my art to question what they see, encouraging them to think about how they interact with the natural world and the environmental footprint they leave behind, thus creating an awareness of how even small changes can create a big effect, Suarez said.

The works in “Reflections of Our Time” are also meant to increase awareness on an often unnoticed environmental issue.

When I started to investigate the plastic for its aesthetic quality and how it can distort images, I started to notice it everywhere. Everything’s put in plastic now because it’s cheaper. There’s also an unseen effect of plastic called BDA. 93 percent of people have BDA in their bodies and it has been linked to breast cancer in some studies, so there’s a big effect there that some people don’t even realize that hasn’t really been addressed, Suarez said.

Janet Suarez received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and hopes to receive her master’s degree in 2-D painting.  She has exhibited her artwork in galleries in Atlanta and Gainesville. “Reflections of Our Time” will be displayed at the CAT from March 17-28.