The “Legacy” exhibit at Cane Roots Art Gallery in downtown Christiansted is Tien Jameson’s bold offerings of her mixed media art. This artist opened her one-woman show on Art Thursday in January with sculptures and paintings that espouse her multi-cultural heritage. The collection boasts twenty-three distinctive Tien Jameson creations.
With African American and Native American roots, Jameson is the product of a family of artists. “I was always surrounded by art and I did art for as long as I can remember. I was very shy, so it was the perfect form of self-expression for me,” she said.
Jameson and her sister Kim helped their mother [well-known, local realistic impressionism artist Marcia Jameson] do the underpaintings for her art. Many of their childhood toys were art projects or art toys. “I feel like I have inherited the gift from my mother and many of my family members. My sister Kim is a filmmaker. My aunts were painters, my uncle was a leather artist, and my maternal grandmother was a craftsperson who created many works of art,” Jameson shared.
Family travel visits to Africa and the Southwest informed Jameson’s desire and piqued her interest in the arts of those cultures.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Hunter College and a master’s degree in Art Education from Queens College. Her master’s thesis was to research the commonality in African, Native American, and Australian Aboriginal art and create a product that represents those cultures harmoniously. Jameson used the symbols, palettes and similar motifs that reflected the three cultures.
Jameson retired in 2018 after teaching for 27 years in underserved schools. “We never had the right supplies and I was always using found materials. With the assemblage component, I used the idea of making something commercial look more traditional,” she said.
During the stressful period of COVID, Jameson began her sculpture series. She couldn’t leave the house and she wanted something that was meditative. “I didn’t want to think too much. I just wanted to get caught up in the process. I decided to experiment with mosaics.” Jameson created three pieces and showed them in exhibits on St. Croix.
The sculptures in the “Legacy” exhibit began with Jameson’s attempt at making a receptacle for an urn for her late mother. “I knew she would love it if I made a headpiece for an urn. My mother was fascinated with birds. She loved birds and envied their freedom.” Jameson uses mannequins for the base of her sculptures and abstract feathers and stylized feathers to represent freedom.
The “Legacy” exhibit, in its embrace of Jameson’s roots, shows sculptures and framed pieces created from papier mache, foam, beads, leather, rope, acrylic paint, and copper that create the mosaic.
Jameson is a native New Yorker who resides in Jamaica, Queens and spends her winters on St. Croix. She has exhibited widely in galleries in Brooklyn and SoHo, on Long Island, NY and on St. Croix. She works in mixed media, which she believes “offers endless opportunities to explore unlimited approaches to art.”
Visit Cane Roots Art Gallery Tuesdays through Fridays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Legacy Exhibit closes Saturday, Feb. 17.