South Texas College’s Pecan Campus Library Art Gallery, together with STC’s Visual Arts and Music Department Art Gallery, are proud to present “Worlds Apart: Contemporary Adornment and Sacred Ornament,” featuring a collection of jewelry artworks by Tracey Davis and Donna Sweigart.

The exhibit opens Thursday, July 16, with art talks beginning at 6 p.m. in STC’s Pecan Campus Building D Auditorium. A reception will follow from 7 to 9 p.m. in STC’s Art Gallery, Bldg. B. The exhibit runs through Aug. 14. STC’s Pecan Campus Art Gallery, Bldg. B is located at 3201 W. Pecan Blvd. in McAllen. Admission is free and open to the public.

Tracey Davis is a self-taught artist from Florida who began her artistic career at the age of 28 after suffering a stroke while giving birth to her second of three sons. This life threatening event was also a gift in disguise as it brought forth a divine, God-given talent in art for Davis. Her work is composed of intricate and delicate ornamentation resonating with sacred devotion through her use of religious iconography.

“I am a long-time collector of European vintage prayer cards, as well as other vintage religious art, and I chose to make mosaics featuring these religious themes,” said Davis. The result of this became her unique, one-of-a-kind Petite Sacre Mosaiques, or “small holy mosaics,” which include pendants, necklaces and mini shrines.

Donna Sweigart is an art professor at The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg where she teaches jewelry and metalworking. Her works are organic and reminiscent of natural life forms, both scientific and environmental. Her jewelry is a representation of the ephemeral state of being and the inevitable force of change within life.

“Like the human condition, my pieces change,” said Sweigart. “Some of the pieces have small changes and others have more radical changes. However, the pieces do not permanently change, they merely change with the wearer. They all move or are worn in different ways in order for the wearer to interact with the piece. The changes in the pieces symbolize ‘change’ within the confines of the human condition.”

“Each artists’ mixed media jewelry works are both breathtaking and thought provoking,” said Sofia K. Vestweber, STC’s Library Art Gallery Program assistant. “Their art challenges viewers to look beyond the surface and explore one’s own existence.”

“This exhibit examines two great shifts in jewelry, one that is easily recognized as conceptual body art or even small sculpture for the body. The other is spiritually obsessive, almost fetish objects, that embrace a complex rich emotional and religious ambition, but are also considered jewelry and small sculpture,” said David Freeman, curator and programs coordinator for STC’s Library Art Gallery Program. “These two artists are worlds apart in concept, form and process. The difference is formidable and significant, almost to the verge of subverting one another in a delightful manner. Issues of personal identity, femininity, high technology and spirituality influence their work. They are conceptual and trans-cultural, and they unravel complex differences in creative styles performed in the artist’s studios, allowing the audience an informative and comprehensive insight into diverse expressions in contemporary jewelry despite the consequences of their style. These pieces are seen as jewelry and contemporary body sculpture, and the artists separate approach toward sculpture and the human body requires us to re-examine our own current focus and understanding of art and the body.”

South Texas College’s Library Art Gallery Program exhibits regional, national and international artwork, explores new visions and theories of creativity, and introduces innovative artistic expressions to the South Texas region.

For more information call 872-3488, e-mail libraryart@southtexascollege.edu or visit http://lag.southtexascollege.edu.