Jennifer Kramer: A Heart Made Visible
On view February 24 - March 31, 2019
“Between the years of 2011 and 2016, I got married, my mother died of cancer, I gave birth to a baby girl, and I got divorced. Each experience, whether joyous or filled with grief, caused monumental shifts in my life. As a trained artist and art therapist, I began turning more and more to my personal artwork in a desperate attempt to make sense of all that I was going through. Within the creative process, supported by many hours of prayer and wise counsel, I gradually found myself coming out of a haze of confusing emotions. This body of work stands as a visual record of all the lost hopes, sadness, fear, anxiety and grief that I walked through. It also reveals the calm, confidence, clarity, insight and empowerment that came as a result.
“Inherent to the practice of art therapy is a focus on the process of art making, rather than on the look of the finished product. In this process, each brush stroke, color, line, and image become metaphors for the individual’s journey through the emotional and spiritual realms. No judgements or critiques are given. Rather, acceptance and mindful observation are encouraged. I use a particular method created by art therapist and author, Pat Allen, in which spontaneous image making is followed by reflective writing. The writing process serves as a grounding tool, and an opportunity to make logical sense of the images that have come to the surface, often from the subconscious mind. In describing the safe space of expression created when we step into this process, Allen writes:
‘Feelings which were unsafe to express may be painted and drawn and befriended. Remember that the image is the messenger of your soul and never comes to harm you…The image needs to be known, seen fully with loving attention and encouraged to speak…’ (Art is a Way of Knowing, Allen, 1995).
“As we journey through our emotional and spiritual lives, with all of the hills and valleys that entails, we so often choose not to acknowledge our feelings. We shove them aside, afraid of what they might reveal. But in honestly opening ourselves up to the process of visual art-making, we are given an opportunity to create tangible representations of our innermost struggles. Our feelings – our hearts – become visible, and healing begins.”
- Jennifer Kramer
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Murray State University, and studied Art Therapy at the University of Louisville, where she earned a Masters of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services with an emphasis in Expressive Therapies. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) and a Licensed Professional Art Therapist Associate (LPATA), currently employed by Jefferson County Public Schools.