World-renowned sculptor and contemporary artist Linda Lighton introduced her newly-opened exhibit "Taking Aim: Power Gender and Firearms" in the Human Rights Institute Gallery Feb. 5.
The exhibit, running until May 5, aims to express the connection between gun violence and violence against women in the United States.
Lighton's artistic background is extremely diverse and extensive, having both her education and works span the globe.
According to the The Lighton International Artists Exchange Program (LIAEP), she originally attended The Factory of Visual Arts in Seattle, Washington from 1971 to 1974. From 1974 to 1976, Lighton lived on the Colville Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington State to help gain a better perspective on Native American art.
Continuing her studies and travels, she studied painting and ceramics from 1976 to 1978 at the University of Idaho. Finally, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1989.
Lighton has had 54 solo shows since 1974 and helped contribute to more than 150 group exhibitions internationally, including representing the United States as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics on multiple occasions.
Some of the places in which her artwork was featured include Missouri, New Jersey, Washington, Ohio, Texas, Japan, Korea, Germany, China and more.
Additionally, the pieces on display are focused on evoking imagery revolving around capitalistic greed and the human preoccupation with power, control and status.
The exhibit features over 20 ceramic works from Lighton's personal studio with the entirety of the collection spanning over 14 years to finalize.
Also focusing on advocacy, Lighton touched upon her call to action behind "Taking Aim: Power Gender and Firearms" and the importance of understanding her work.
"It's our job to ensure our youth's future," Lighton said. "Gun safety is a fundamental right. We want our children growing up in safe communities nationwide."
In addition to the numerous pieces of art and sculpture, various statistics lined the walls, aiming to magnify and enhance the experience for the prospective viewer.
Said statistics included information on gun violence, domestic violence and violence against women and minorities.
Tanya Hartman, a contributor and curator for Lighton, described the raw elements that went into the basis of the exhibit.
"The brutality that Lighton references in this exhibition is directly connected to a materialistic love of weaponry, its proliferation in homes across the United States and a disconnection between easy trigger fingers and tragic consequences," Hartman explained. "Great artists make works that address the culture in which they live."
"Through the repeated motifs of the gun, the flower and the bullet, Lighton presents the viewer with a visual representation of the conflicted psyche at the heart of the national debate on the right to bear arms," Hartman said.
Those interested in viewing Lighton's works can visit the Kean University Human Rights Institute Gallery, located in the Nancy Thompson Library on the main campus.
Gallery hours are as follows:
Monday through Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For additional information on the exhibit or the artist, one can visit Linda Lighton's official website.
Attendance for the exhibit is free of charge.