Local Artist Diana Jacks to Show Nine Painting "Tragedy" Series at International College's Falciglia Art Gallery

The Falciglia Art Gallery at International College hosts an exhibit, "Emotions," which runs from March 7 through May 3. Local artist and retired clinical psychologist Diana Jacks created the art.

A "Meet the Artist" reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 11 at the College. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. International College is at 2655 Northbrooke Drive, Naples, at the intersection of Immokalee Road and Interstate 75.

The show will feature the nine-piece portraiture series, “Crucifixion, Resurrection, Redemption,” in which Jacks follows a woman experiencing the various stages of grief, from impact to ultimate healing. It took her a little more than one year to complete the series.

“I was very taken by the thought of what people do when struck with tragedy. I wanted to explore what they did with it, how they actively struggled to grow from it, and whether they became stronger rather than bitter,” said Jacks, a Naples resident and board member of the Sugden Community Theater.

This is Jacks’ second one-woman exhibit in Naples. Her first, “Faces – the paintings of Diana Jacks,” was held last year at the West Wing Gallery of the Naples Branch Library. Jacks began work in artistry through etchings, which garnered awards and were shown in galleries in Virginia and North Carolina.

Upon retirement as a clinical psychologist in 1995, Jacks began to work seriously in oils and found she had a gift of portraiture. She chose portraiture because she had a lifelong interest in people. It also allowed her to explore various aspects of people’s personalities.

“I expected that since I was a painter and psychologist, my portraits would be very hard, but they are very gentle. I believe it’s because I can really see who the subjects are as people,” she said.

Melody Hainsworth, Ph.D., Vice President of Information Resources and Services, said Jacks’ art is personal and expressive and coincides with Women’s Month.

“Jacks is a psychologist who has turned to healing through the use of art, which has long been a way to mend hearts and souls. Jacks has captured the need for women, in particular, to express their anger and thus move along the continuum of healing. Looking at the paintings, you can see the faces progress from the traumatic event, to the inner struggle, and finally, to peace,” Hainsworth said.

Jacks explained that the motivation for the series came from dealing with her own grief from tragedy. She hopes her paintings will strike a personal chord with individuals who gaze upon her work.

“I’d like these paintings to stimulate people to think. Hopefully, these paintings will grip people, because the tragedy could be the death of a spouse, the death of child, the diagnosis of a fatal illness, or a devastating divorce. It’s not specific to one particular event – it’s every person’s worst nightmare,” she said. “People should realize they are not alone in their grief.”

International College Creative Retirement Center participant George Kotlan was so moved by Jacks’ portraits, he collaborated with her on writing three-line poems to go with each piece.

“It was something that was expressed so well by the emotions in the portraits, I felt it also should be expressed in words,” said Kotlan, who has been writing for only a few years.
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