The Hutchins Gallery’s Newest Exhibit

Sophie Yang ’26 in Arts | November 10, 2023

          A bright yellow bird looks at a cloudy morning sky through an old sewer pipe as music spews from the leaking water faucets. A flock of faucet birds sings, and the growing pea pod beside them wraps its tongues around the birds, yearning for a taste of that same music. In another sky is an eye or the window to the soul. looking at a place beyond our reach. We don’t know what the eye is looking at, yet a subtle sense of familiarity radiates from its gaze, and I get the feeling that this mysterious eye, with a hint of mischievousness, knows some secrets and how to reveal the hidden truth beneath them.

          Beneath its eyelids, a circular garden takes root. Planted in them are two saplings intertwined with taut, red string, as if they were the gateway to another world, and a zipper drops down above it, unraveling the darkness and revealing the pristine, white background.

          Then, as we’re submerged in darkness, a panorama of the cosmos—a “cosmorama,” if you will—emerges, showing an almost alien-like interpretation of our universe. Insect-like creatures and alien plants crawl up from the depths while our stars and planets bloom into flowers, and the tiny sphere of our universe spins and spins and spins…

          These scenes are not fictional. They are real, as pieces of art that now reside in the Hutchins Gallery as a part of Jamie Greenfields’ artist exhibition. Needless to say, the artistry of Jamie Greenfield is meticulous, dynamic, and mesmerizing. With subtle strokes of charcoal and gouache in her artwork, she creates looking glasses into different worlds, exploring nature and its beauty, the cosmos and the surreal, chaos, and harmony. 

          Greenfield’s art carries the motif of portals. In contrast to the stiffness of the rectangular canvas, she uses rounded circles to break the normal perception and limitations of art, luring her viewers into the unknown.

          In my opinion, Greenfield’s art consists of a collection of mirrors that look into different worlds, but she layers these individual scenes together in such a skillful way that what could have easily been a muddled mess retains a unique, coherent story. 

          As for her technique, Greenfield combines all sorts of different media. According to Greenfield, she does not have a detailed, step-by-step plan for her paintings. Instead, she paints and draws “with the flow,” leaving her decisions up to her artistic instincts. Thus, she leaves parts of her drawings in pencil, some in rough charcoal and others in soft, delicate gouache. Because of the contrast between these different textures, values, and shapes, these scattered and surreal scenes lucidly piece themselves together like a puzzle, creating the grand, cosmic universe of Greenfield’s imagination.

          So, experience the wonder of Greenfield’s art for yourself in the Hutchins Gallery, and when you do, stop in front of one that catches your eye. Look past the aesthetics, the surface-level paint strokes, and let your eyes wander from bird to bird to flower to the planet, and, even for a little bit, try to understand Jamie Greenfield’s world.