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Cerulean Gallery looks to the light with 'Illuminations'

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Jena Rawley Taylor's "Tohuw" is featured in "Illuminations."

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Four artists who work with light to emphasize beauty in both abstract and realistic ways are featured in the latest exhibition at Cerulean Gallery.

"Illuminations" informally opened July 29 and the gallery will celebrate an official opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the gallery, 2762 Duniven Circle. The exhibition will hang through Sept. 9.

The exhibition will highlight a broad range of media, including LED light boxes, cradled maple, aluminum, enamel and oils.

"We placed these artists together intuitively, and then once the images started to pour in several months ago, it was so obvious that the common thread was light," said Caroline Kneese, Cerulean founder and director.

Featured artists include:

  • Carmen Menza of Dallas, who uses light boxes, glass beads on aluminum and silver foil on cradled maple to "capture the illumination of light in her abstracts," according to a news release. Menza, a 1999 University of North Texas graduate who also received a degree in jazz guitar performance, has work in the permanent collection of the McKinney Avenue Contemporary Museum in Dallas. Her directorial debut, Dream Big, was a short film made for Dallas Aurora — Festival of Light in October 2013.
  • Ginger Nelson of Amarillo, who uses thin layers of oil "that create a luminescent effect" in her whimsical, close-up portraits of realistic subjects, the release said. An Amarillo attorney and mother of three, Nelson began drawing as worship, taking pencils and a sketchpad to church to draw during singing and while listening to the sermon. 
  • Kristy Snell of Amarillo, who uses oils to capture "dramatic natural and artificial light in realistic scenes," the release said. Snell said in an artist's statement that she "wants to portray a sense of familiarity and a connection to the piece," offering "a glimpse into the modern reality that she finds intriguing." 
  • and Jena Rawley Taylor of Amarillo who uses high-gloss enamel and automobile paint on board and canvas in this series of work inspired by biblical scriptures referring to light, the release said. Taylor, executive director of Faith City Mission, is a 1975 graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor degree in fine art. "It has always been my passion to paint, to photograph — just create," Taylor said in an artist's statement. "I'm highly inspired by the depth and breadth of my relationship with my creator."

A portion of proceeds from opening night will benefit Faith City Mission, a nonprofit organization who works with the homeless, addicted and poor population.

The below images are examples of the four artists' work:

Image - CeruleanMenza080116.jpg

Image - CeruleanNelson080116.jpg

Image - CeruleanSnell080116.jpg

Image - CeruleanTaylor080116.jpg


Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.