Jessica Augier Triptich

Laken Bridges, BFA Exhibition Title: "Flight," March 14 to 18, 2011Slocumb Galleries, East Tennessee State Univeristy, Johnson City, TN; Senior Exhibition; Bridges is recepient of the Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowship 2010 Grant at ETSU.



Disturbed Pastoral

by Laken Bridges - posted 10/27/2011

Bridges describes her body of work as "disturbed pastoral narrative", drawing inspiration from the writing of psychologist/philosopher Carl Jung who believes that "the Self is represented by animals." The exhibition's intent is to "create a sense of tension and unease with an unexpected combination of figurative elements and scenes in nature," images that describe "an interior landscape, a landscape of mind" that represnts states of being and self-reflection. The psychological images within the pictorial elements are dominated by sheep, a constant creature that occasionally visited the artist in her dreams. Bridges states, that in her imagery, the sheep "plays the role of the psyche, the subconscious." In the exhibition, her works feature sheep that are "juxtaposed with the figure (mostly self-portraits) to express a dialog or exchange between the conscious and subconscious, a struggle to understand and accept the Self so that a more powerful, harmonious relationship may develop."


Aside from the deeper meanings implied in the work, Bridges is able to create beautiful narratives, using a skilful, traditional medium, with much historical context. This is refreshing in a sea of contemporary notions that the art of visual story-telling is somehow dated. If the artist has something to say and can say it with skill and subtlety, then the message is still valid and timely. Furthermore, this approach to printmaking is not an easy process. Many hours may go into the development of drawing, plate manipulation, and unforgiving value relationships. This is not always true with some non-traditional processes, where subject and objectives are not always clear, equally eliminating criteria for success or failure.


The Self, and all that it entails, is the embodiment of who one is and the search for Self is the driving force behind all of my artwork. As von Franz describes, the Self is “complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize” not only in it’s connection to fairy tale but also in connection with us as individuals.


(Go to Laken's Gallery >>)


2010 Honors College Research Fellowship

The Animal in Art: A Symbol of the Psyche


The work for my grant-funded independent study involved research on animal symbolism from numerous books, articles, videos, and interviews related to Jungian psychology, ancient and earth-based cultures, literature, mythology, religion, and art. Some authors, Jungian psychologists, and visual artists were also contacted and interviewed via e-mail.  In addition, several days were spent visiting art museums and historical sites related to animal symbolism. When the research was gathered and processed, three images related to animal symbolism were developed in the studio and a 10-page paper was written for my advisor Ralph Slatton. The paper may be published on Mr. Slatton’s printmaking website at a future date.

I consulted many sources for this project. However, Carl Jung’s book, Man and His Symbols, Barbara Hannah’s lectures on animal symbolism, Vine Deloria’s writings on the Sioux, Robert Rosenblum’s writings on animal art, and various articles and essays on contemporary artists including Melissa Miller, Deborah Butterfield, Tim Ebner, and Laurie Hogin, proved indispensible. I also found ETSU graduate Jerri Allison’s masters’ thesis, Symbiosis, and e-mail interviews conducted with artists Gil Bliss, Sally Matthews, Chad Tolley, and Tim McMeans beneficial in considering the personal connection between my work and this research.

I conducted the travel portion of my research from July 13th through July18th.  During this time, I visited the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.  There I looked at the animal’s role in various art movements and genres throughout history, including the animal in eastern and African art, the animal portrayed by realist animaliers, and the animal in modern and contemporary art. I also visited the Great Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio, the largest effigy mound in the World, in an effort to better-understand the role of animals in life, art, and ritual in ancient earth-based societies.

In my paper I explained my personal connection to animal symbolism and my reasons for pursuing the study of this subject. I introduced the animal’s symbolic role by comparing arguments from Carl Jung’s perspective and from a Vine Deloria’s Native American perspective.  Jung emphasized the importance of the animal as a symbol, but Deloria argued that animals themselves are key to our self-understanding. Despite their differences, Jung and Deloria did agree that the animal plays an important role in our lives, whether literally or metaphorically.


(Read Complete Paper>>)