Positive Spaces at Georgian Court

Positive Spaces: Zsa Zsa StacklesPositive Spaces: An Alumni ExhibitionThe M. Christina Geis Gallery at GCUBarnegat Bay at DuskPositive Spaces: Ryan MitchellMarc
African SunsetPositive Spaces: Taryn StevensPleiadesLavenderCounting Sheep

‘Positive Spaces’ Evokes Peace, Happiness and More

A playful kitten paws at the curtains on a window ledge. The purple and orange hues of an African sunset beckon. And the sight of sailboats dotting the Barnegat Bay invites art lovers to pause—if only for a few mintues—to enjoy Positive Spaces, the June 1-28 mixed media installation on display in the M. Christina Geis Art Gallery at Georgian Court University.

“Being creative provides me with an incredible source of adventure, self-discovery, connection, spirituatlity, awakening….and power,” writes Zsa Zsa Stackles, whose displayed pieces include oil paintings, gel transfers, photography and more. “I believe that my life as a creative artist and educator is simply an ordinary life that is choreographed to support ongoing creativity in myself and in those around me.”

The entire collection evokes a certain sense of calm that has the power to take the edge off of a harried day packed with insane deadlines to meet or too many places to go. Positive Spaces, which is an alumni exhibit, gives art lovers a chance to slow down for a few minutes, breathe, and take in the simple pleasures—a starry sky, the sight of a full moon at high tide, or even the presence of 22 (yes, we counted them) sheep grazing peacefully in a lush, green meadow.

One of the most inviting pieces in the exhibit is a gorgeous watercolor, rendered in multiple shades of pink, gray and brown, of GCU’s own Japanese Garden. Alumni and students are often drawn there to relax and wander or to find inspiration.

“It has been my goal since I was young to reproduce my vision of the world through art and to portray nature and existence through my own lens,” Mitchell says.

Another piece, Taryn Stevens’ vividly detailed painting of an empty wooden picnic table surrounded by tall grasses in the woods, tempts viewers to go there—to escape—if only in their minds.

“My current style takes realism and warps it ever so slightly,” Stevens writes in her artist’s statement. “All of the objects or colors that I use can be found in reality; it is the way in which I use them that creates a whole new world.”