34 years is a long time. As evidenced by the outpouring of genuine sentiment at the current exhibition at Northlight Gallery, James Hajicek’s tenure at ASU has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
The three rooms of the gallery are filled with work spanning four decades. Both photographs that James created and the work of past and present students who he worked closely with grace the walls along with heartfelt and poignant statements about how they were impacted by him.
In many of the statements, you get the sense that “The Captain”, which he is lovingly referred to, has given the gift of process to students hungry for the tactile, the physical and a certain reverence for “the object”. Yet, there is this other less quantifying aspect of Jim’s influence that resonated in each statement; a belief system in which to enter into the realm of art making, an understanding of the ineffable and sometimes terrifying process of being an artist. Beyond that, you get the sense that his influence has gone above and beyond the world of art but that his guidance in how to navigate life is immeasurable.
Filippo Tagliati, a former graduate student from Italy, expressed it the most succinctly:
“Jim, first time I entered your office I was sick and you healed me. You taught me how to teach. When a band of thieves stole everything from my house, you taught me what the power of community is. When I was looking for direction in my work, you taught me how to create a research project. And when I was looking for a job, you convinced them I could walk on the water. Right now, I can really walk on the water just because you taught me how to believe in myself.”
When you look around the rooms of Northlight you cannot help but notice the attention to those two dangerous words in our post-neo-post modern world- Truth and Beauty.
There are many people to thank for making this exhibition possible- Liz Allen, the director of Northlight who saw this entire thing through to the 11th hour, the students in the exhibition class who framed, typed and hung it all, the students who dropped everything and sent work from all corners of the country, and to all who came to the opening to support Jim, another testimony to the power of community.
Lineage will be open through May 3rd
Monday night 7-9