Portrait Exhibition on View at BCC
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) presents "Countenance," an exhibition of portraits by artist Janna Essig, on view in Koussevitzky Gallery through April 28, 2023.
The gallery is open Monday–Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.
"Countenance" features original paintings by the artist, who earned an associate degree in liberal arts from BCC and moved on to UMass Amherst to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in art education and a master's degree in education with a focus on creativity.
"In most of my artwork I am working from memory and not using a model or photo," said Essig, who in 2008 started exploring using the face as an icon with a series of watercolor portraits. She painted the faces of seven people who were taken from their homes in Iran and imprisoned for practicing their Bahai faith.
"I was moved by the nobility and inner strength that I could see in each person, and by their unwavering faith, while facing persecution from the Iranian government," she said.
After completing her education, Essig shared a studio space in Amherst and participated for 15 years in workshops for artists and writers. At the studio, she worked on a different series each year, painting first in watercolor and in the last 10 years in oils. There, she joined a painting group, which continues to meet regularly.
Essig has exhibited her work in local art galleries, annual studio art exhibits and a graduate art show at UMASS Amherst. In addition to the BCC exhibit, Essig is currently participating in a virtual exhibit with her painting group at the Jones Library in Amherst.