Step into the Light From The Underground exhibit by Colette Campbell-Jones at the Palo Alto Art Center and understand what it means to belong to the vanishing culture of coal miners in Southern Wales.
The exhibit features 4 of her 40 x 40 in prints and a mural that are “manipulated digital imagery to reference drawing and printmaking process.” She has scanned dozens of silver negatives, used as source material, then collaged photographic fragments of both paper cut outs and digital files. She has used this process to consider how imagery provides insight into our psychological filters and what shapes our senses as we perceive elements of reality through amplifications and omissions of her charcoal drawings.
Histories, a hybrid process print, depicts five women near a fireplace, a sketch of an older woman as she looks on, and a child staring at the face of a coal miner, all underground, as a large opening sheds traces of light into their world. Next, Origin of the (Modern) World, a hybrid process on print, shadows a blast furnace as a large opening at the top floods the area with light. In Blaenavon, Wales, the blast furnace is credited with launching the industrial revolution which lifted humanity out of the medieval period. “Left” In, a hybrid process on print, focuses a street light on six people, in a shanty, as shadows of factories loom over them from the back. The Abyss #1 is a large scene of a dark, shadowy forest while Abyss # 2 is a mural of an underground scene depicting camaraderie between coal miners, various mining shafts, and their work environment.
Colette Campbell-Jones prints shed light on the shadowy underground world of coal miners, their sufferings, and how they forged their own community identity in their realm. This exhibit runs through December 12 and Museum is open until 5 pm. Art dialogues are held on most Saturdays at 2 pm.