Roy Adkins and Jerri Sherer are familiar figures in the Jackson art scene. These talented artists, also a married couple, have opened their studio, Light and Glass, in the Old Capitol Green District (which is being redeveloped) on South Commerce Street.
Light and Glass contains both gallery space and working studios for the pair. Initially, Adkins and Sherer sought out space for an artist co-op but later decided to focus on the gallery and studio space. Once they found a building, they worked for more than six months preparing their gallery, transforming the industrial green walls of the original space—many of which were scarred by gaping holes and graffiti—into a clean, modern space.
Adkins' work is the "light" in Light and Glass, while Sherer's is the "glass." Adkins got his first taste of photography while still in high school, when he first learned how to process prints, transferring an image to paper through dipping an exposed print in developer. A few years later, at Mississippi State, Adkins took a photography course through the university's communications department, eager to gain access to another darkroom. He later switched to the art department because it provided better opportunities to experiment with "alternative" processing. He left MSU with a fine arts degree, with an emphasis in photography.
Since then, Adkins has built a reputation as one of the city's premier photographers. His photos range from abstracts to iconic downtown architecture to whimsical satire, such as his self-portrait in the style of Jacques-Louis David's "The Death of Marat." His portraits, which appear often in the Jackson Free Press, show rare sensibility and a natural talent for capturing the character of his subjects.
Sherer creates stained and fused-glass work in the studio. She began her work as a glass artist working with mosaics. Then, around 10 years ago, she gradually switched to stained glass.
"Stained glass was just a natural evolution for me," Sherer says. Moving to stained glass has allowed her to use larger components and create larger finished pieces. Her work ranges from intricately constructed glass stars and sink basins to checkerboards and more traditional stained-glass "panels." As a member of the Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild, Sherer will soon display her work in their new gallery, as well.
While they work in different mediums, the two artists' works are complementary. "In a sense," Adkins says, "the two main components that create the visual of the work are actually shared in both mediums. … I use glass lenses to record reflected light, and Jerri uses glass and pigment to create a design that transmits and reflects light off the actual object." Their work is intermingled throughout the gallery, where the various colors and forms play off each other.
Sherer and Adkins officially opened Light and Glass on May 19. At present, the artists are displaying only their own works, but they plan to hold guest showings for other area artists and craftspeople in the future.
The pair is looking forward to the completion of the Old Capitol Green District, which has just begun. The goal of the project is to create a mix of office, residential and retail space that is both green and pedestrian friendly.
"The main thing I wish for the Capitol Green project is that it creates a destination in Jackson. We need more reasons for people to come into the city," Sherer says. The two have long been champions of Jackson's revitalization, and they can hardly wait for the transformation of South Commerce Street.
Adkins and Sherer have worked diligently to support Jackson's art community, working through the Greater Jackson Arts Council and the Jackson Arts Collective. While the Jackson Arts Collective has been around for a while, Adkins and Sherer worked closely with Daniel Johnson and the Arts Council to renew and expand the organization. Adkins serves as the Collective's representative on the board of the Arts Council, while Sherer is the Collective's financial officer.
"We both recognize that Jackson has a strong creative community, but it lacks the exposure it deserves," Adkins says of their work for the Collective, explaining that the organization supports artists with information on grants, juried shows and educational opportunities. "If we can get all artists to work together and get on the same page and combine resources, we can improve the arts in Jackson, thereby improving Jackson itself."
Light and Glass Gallery/Studio is located at 523 South Commerce St. It is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and by appointment. Contact Light and Glass at 601-942-7285 or go to their webpage.
Go, Light and Glass!
sounds great. I got an email about this and thought it was an exhibit opening - didn't realize it was a brand new gallery. I will definitely check it out.
Thanks! We are always happy when people stop by; come check it out when you have time.
- Roy Adkins