International Arts Center John A. Hancock exhibit explores ‘Family, History, and Connection”

Andrea Hammack

Staff Writer

The John A. Hancock art exhibit, now open for visitors at the International Arts Center, showcases pieces that center around family, history, and connection to place. 

Greg Skaggs, an associate professor of art and design at Troy, worked with Hancock to curate the exhibit and prepared the space for showing.

“I’ve known John for a good long time,” Skaggs said. “He’s mainly a watercolorist. He also does a lot of en plein air (outdoor) paintings, but these works are large pieces on mylar, which is a type of plastic.”

The exhibit features various forms of media and artistic techniques. Skaggs explained this to be a significant feature of the exhibit. 

“John has a very loose style, but he’s also very detailed,” Skaggs said. “So you’ve got a mixture of loose and tight.

“There’s a mastery in how he places pigment, medium and areas that are really tight with watercolor and pen and ink technique. It shows that he has mastery over the material.”

Brandon Ryce, a sophomore fine art major with a 2D concentration from Dothan, worked alongside Skaggs to ready the pieces for showing. 

“Whenever I saw John Hancock’s pieces I was intrigued,” Ryce said. “His pieces are more about composition, elements of design and principles of design, and less about what is being depicted. Although, the subjects depicted are done with expertise.”

Ryce went on to say that his favorite piece is Rising Between the Coisnot and the Contentea.

“Hancock’s pieces are worth coming to see because they let non-artists see how artists think about symbols, color, and composition.”

Though Skaggs said the art is easy to appreciate, a lot goes into the process of getting the exhibit together, such as breaking down old exhibits. Lighting and new wall positions are also added.  

 “I like designing the space and working with the artist,” Skaggs said. “It’s fun to let them see their work when it’s all set up for the first time.

“You’re carrying on a conversation. The work is created in the studio, then the work has been hung in a gallery, and the viewer then has that opportunity to complete the cycle.”

Skaggs and Ryce both encourage anyone interested to come and see the exhibit for themselves.

“(It) is an adventure from start to finish,” Ryce said. “John Hancock gives you a look into not only his brain, but the brains of all artists.”

“I think it’s something they haven’t seen,” Skaggs said. “I think people that visit would recognize that there’s a shared sense of how we work with our own families.” 

The exhibit is currently up in the IAC and will run through Nov. 14 when Hancock

will also be present for a lecture. Admission will be free for both students and the public and light refreshments served.

Workshops with the artist – for both students and the public – are also in the works and will be announced once official dates are set. 

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