“Displacement: New Works” exhibition


Alayna Ross

McMahon painted the blue sheets and Garcia named the pot “Los Coyotes.”

Alayna Ross

The Coburn Gallery at Ashland University is featuring the exhibition, “Displacement: New Works” by J. Leigh Garcia and Taryn McMahon from Aug. 26 through Sept. 28.

Garcia and McMahon are both professors of print media at Kent State University. The pieces displayed at the Coburn Gallery explore displacement in two separate contexts. Garcia features the displacement and current political climate surrounding unauthorized Latinx immigrants in the United States, while McMahon investigates displacement of nature in urban communities.

Garcia explained how her ancestry has been the catalyst for her work.

Alayna Ross
Paperwork and Print piece titled “Snow Birds” by J. Leigh Garcia.

“I am half Mexican and half Caucasian,” Garcia said. “On my mother’s side, I am a seventh-generation Texan and on my father’s side, I am a second-generation Mexican American.”

Working mainly in papermaking, printmaking and installation art, Garcia’s works feature imagery that addresses the relationship between Mexico and the United States.

“My grandparents came over the border undocumented in about the 1940’s so I have always been interested in race relations between whites and Latinos, specifically Mexicans and Texans,” Garcia said.

Alongside Garcia, McMahon features pieces inspired by her relationship with nature as a person who has lived her whole life in the suburbs.

“I love nature, but I am always wondering what is nature, where is nature, and when I am having an authentic experience with nature and these are a direct reflection of that,” McMahon said.

McMahon’s three largest pieces are backdrops that feature manipulated photos from the Cleveland Botanical Garden. She finds that the photos are an example of an artificial relationship.

“Botanical gardens are highly artificial spaces that attempt to recreate a real space,” McMahon said.

Cynthia Petry, the director of the Coburn Gallery and professional instructor at Ashland University, encourages students, faculty, and the Ashland community as a whole to visit the exhibition.

“Art plays a big role in how we see the world, the conflicts that are happening and the beauty in the world and artists are the voice,” Petry said. “Their voice to get us to think of the issues and be the catalyst to make a change.”

The Coburn Gallery is located within the Center for the Arts on Ashland University’s campus. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.