Gallery of the Month: August

Welcome to the newest gallery in JAC’s Gallery of the Month series, where we showcase a wide range of art and writing under unique monthly themes. Check back on the first of each month for a new collection of works by the talented artists in the JAC network. To view past galleries of the month, see our Gallery Archive

For this month’s gallery we’ve put together a collection of monochromatic artwork.  Many of the incredible art pieces we receive are rendered in solely pencil and pen, and in contrast to previous galleries (most notably June’s Rainbow Gallery), we present to you a celebration of selective color.

While several of these artists have made the conscious decision to work within this color scheme, it’s important to recognize that for some, their work’s limited color palette is the result of severe restrictions on the artist’s ability to acquire certain materials, such as paint and colored pencils. Of course, this lack of access to media with color does not negate the beauty nor complexity of each piece. 

While we, in the Western world, are taught to prioritize color on canvases and paper due to a long tradition of painting, there’s a technical skill and special eye for beauty and balance required to create this monochromatic art which ought to be acknowledged and appreciated. 

Notice how each piece in this gallery portrays a relationship between light and dark. Now look closer: consider the role that light shading and subtle transitions into deep blacks play in conveying form, depth — even luminescence. We encourage you to take special note of the details revealed through shadows and shading. Monochromatic work emphasizes the versatility of using a full spectrum of values in any given color in addition to an artist’s keen ability to navigate and utilize negative space in a composition. 

We hope you enjoy this month’s gallery: Grayscale

“In prison staff can get away with putting prohibitions on almost anything, in the name of Security. Claims of bats and spiked poles made out of paper, keeps a person from getting a sufficient amount of paper. An inmate must recycle staples and scotch tape. Isolation is a vacuum where a prisoner has one tool that’s a lifeline to survival. It’s a flex pen. A small, weak pen that holds little ink and cannot take too much pressure or it’ll bend. Officers say they are adequate but refuse to use them. Many staff say it’s a punishment for being in isolation in our Federal prisons. I don’t see it as anything but a tool for my resilience. A flex pen is better than no pen, and besides due to security, I’m not permitted to possess mighty swords.” – Charlie Castillo


Do you have feedback or an idea for a future gallery of the month? Submit your suggestions here.