Art Teacher Displays His Work
Friday, July 16, 2004

Jason Travers wants you to find something in his art.
"I like to describe it as open to interpretation and as a narrative storyline," he said. "It doesn't have to be understood right away, it's open to thinking."
The Baum School of Art instructor will host his first exhibition at the school beginning Monday.
One of those paintings which will be on display at Baum's Rodale Gallery through Aug. 14 is entitled "Guardian," a dark and brooding piece filled with subtle browns, flowing blacks and forcefully sweeping whites which resembles an earthquake in slow-motion.
"Guardian" is only one of over 20 works of art Travers, a 1994 Moravian College graduate, will be premiering at the show.
"Many of the pieces haven't been on display before," Travers said. His only other exhibition was at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his masters in fine arts in 1998.
"This is a very exciting step for me."
That step, however, is a logical one. Since graduating from Moravian and Penn, Travers has instructed foundation, painting, and summer plein-air painting courses at Lehigh University, Kutztown University and Baum. Plein-air is a type of painting in the style of certain schools of French impressionism of the lat 19th century engaged mainly in representing observed effects of outdoor light and atmosphere.
He has also taught digital design at Kutztown and was awarded best of show in the Northeast Biennial for his painting, "Sojourn."
Still teaching at all three locations, it's a surprise Travers finds time to create his abstract pieces.
"You have to make time," he said with a laugh. "When it's something you love to do, however, making time isn't that much of a chore. I have a home studio and find as much time to paint as I can."
Travers routinely takes his Lehigh University classes up into the Poconos on hikes to find the best spots to paint in his plein-air painting courses.
However, Travers' interpretations of the environment aren't depicted as they would be through the human eye.
Paintings such as "Oasis" and "Departure" look as though they could easily be depictions of landscapes, however, they are painted with emotion, dexterity and an abstract hand, resulting in works that may take more than a few minutes of viewing to sink in.
Within "Oasis" numerous images seem to jump from the canvas; and each viewer's eye may pick out different forms.
"I really enjoy the art and the finished pieces," he said. "I want to paint in a way that conjures thought and makes someone stop for awhile and take it all in."
An artist of Travers's caliber didn't have to come back to the Lehigh Valley to live and teach. However, upon graduating from Penn, he was comfortable in returning and has faith in the Lehigh Valley's art community.
"There is a lot going on within the art community in the Lehigh Valley and specifically Allentown," he said. "There are many great artists in the area and many places to view their work. I only see the culture growing here, I'm happy to be able to live and work in the Lehigh Valley."
Following the Baum exhibition, Travers will have an artist's reception at the University of Scranton in January 2005 entitled "The Spirit of Myth," a moniker Travers said best describes his work.
"(Hosting exhibitions) is a new thing for me and something I'm very proud of," he said. "I would definitely hope to have more in the future and continue to paint more and create as much as I can."
An artist's reception for the exhibition will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Rodale Gallery to introduce Travers and his work. The exhibition will be available for viewing during normal business hours at Baum.