Recent graduates Ana Castillo Lopez ’21 and Lauren Headrick-Jones ’21 were accepted into the Atlanta Photography Group exhibition “Honor Roll 2021,” featuring works by students from select Georgia colleges and universities.
This exhibition was juried by Alyssa Coppelman, a photo editor and photobook consultant and art researcher with Harper’s Magazine and the Oxford American; Samuel Gerace, curator of photography at the Booth Western Art Museum; and Rebecca Morgan, director of Arnika Dawkins Gallery. The 14 students featured were nominated by their faculty and selected from more than 35 entries.
The free exhibition opened May 20 and is available to view virtually through June 20.
“This is a very personal series,” reflected Headrick-Jones. “This body of work is a meditation on the complexity of identity in marriage, by which I explore my own identity within the context of my relationship with my husband,” she explains in her artist statement. “In this process, I intended to document DJ as an individual, but I find that his personal identity is so interconnected with mine that it is impossible to document him without also documenting myself. In every image, I am there, however subtly.”
Lopez explains that her inspiration for the pieces selected for the exhibition stemmed from her religious experiences growing up in Mexico where Catholicism and worshiping the Virgin Mary was a large part of her culture.
“The virgin is a figure that represents the mother goddess: a symbol of fertility and kindness, yet she is often depicted crying in sorrow for the loss of her son,” she explains in her artist statement. “The mother goddess is now a girl, modest and submissive, a virgin mother… The suffering of women is often romanticized; it is normal because that is what it means to be a woman and therefore that is why the virgin cries.”
Both Lopez and Headrick-Jones created their artwork in their classes at Oglethorpe, but it was not until Assistant Professor of Art Christina Price Washington saw the work that they decided to finally showcase and share their talent with the Atlanta community.
“Oglethorpe has been a place where I have been able to experiment and develop a practice, and I contribute that to my amazing professors,” said Headrick-Jones. “I have particularly clung to Christina; she has been my mentor through all of this. I am appreciative of the things she has taught me. It’s changed my life, my perspective of art, and who I am as an artist.”
As the faculty member who nominated the two studio art majors for this experience, Professor Washington has been an influential mentor in setting her students on a path toward success after graduation.
“I think the biggest gift Oglethorpe has given me was my photography class with Christina,” Lopez said. “She really allows you to experiment and her classes aren’t rigid. She’s open to allowing you to try different things in order to find your artistic aesthetic. The fact that Oglethorpe is so small has allowed me to build an actual relationship with my professors.”
Lopez has a goal to one day be a professor herself. She is currently interning for the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and her other photographic works continue to be showcased in other exhibitions. Headrick-Jones is a member of the Atlanta Photography Group and will be pursuing a master’s degree.