Beckwith will host an interactive “Bee-in” event at the gallery Saturday, Dec. 11, where attendees can join her for a free studio art project and make a bee. She will be at the gallery every Saturday in December.
“Art begins in the library,” said Beckwith, describing her exhibit. “I read this somewhere and it rang true to me. Along with experiences, I often turn to literature for inspiration.”
One of Beckwith’s most recent printmaking projects in the exhibit — titled “The Etruscans” — is a reflection of her past 30 years, traveling and working in art studios in Italy. During those trips, she spent time at the Etruscan Foundation library near Siena. At the library, Beckwith stumbled upon the 1932 book “Etruscan Places,” written by D.H. Lawrence, a literary figure who admired this ancient civilization. The book inspired Beckwith’s “The Etruscans” piece, a letterpress and photo-polymer plate illustration she created during 2020 and earlier this year.
The exhibit also includes a meditation on the “Canticle of the Sun,” attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Beckwith said the piece “is an appreciation of all that is available to us in nature” and features drypoint etchings of animals, illustrating each stanza of the prayer/poem. In one instance, the sun is represented by a chicken.
Beckwith also features several hand-made artist’s books in her gallery. The books include “The Bees (Virgil’s Georgics: Book IV),” which has intricate and puzzling folds; a portfolio and a scroll about imagined sea creatures; and a bound book illustrating E. B. White’s “Song of the Queen Bee.”
A Commitment to Her Practice
Beckwith typically spends the summer in Italy, creating art at printmaking facilities in Florence and Venice. But in 2020, when she couldn’t fly to Italy to use her favorite printmakers, and the local printmaking resources in New York City were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she needed to change her plans to continue her art.
“It was a big decision, but I decided to purchase a large etching press to work at home in 2020,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith pours her passions into her art work the same way she nurtures her art students’ creative endeavors at SJC Brooklyn.
SJC Brooklyn Executive Dean Phillip Dehne, Ph.D., said he is proud of Jane’s successes as an artist and her “Bee-in” gallery.
“To me, Professor Beckwith has long been the epitome of a teaching artist,” Dr. Dehne said. “In her two decades at St. Joseph’s, Jane has helped hundreds or maybe even thousands of our students to make and enjoy art. I’ve always admired Jane’s energy and non-stop creativity.
“I think the art in her ‘Bee-in’ show exemplifies the playfulness and accessibility of her artwork, and also the extremely skilled craftsmanship of her printmaking,” he continued. “Our students in Brooklyn are privileged to learn from faculty like Professor Beckwith, who truly love to teach and who enjoy sharing their deep expertise in their fields.”