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McManus explores divide between the ‘born’ and the ‘made’ in Neon Nature

Masters of Fine Arts candidate Jessamy McManus’ thesis exhibition “Neon Nature” will be on view at the Center for Art & Theatre’s University Gallery from Nov. 7 – 14. A reception will be Friday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m.

McManus paints her interpretation of contemporary nature according to the concept of hypernature, which describes manufactured nature as being better than the real thing. Inspired by her upbringing in suburbia where nature is found manicured and controlled, McManus investigates the divide between the “born” and the “made” through Neon Nature, a collection of portraits of her fictional creatures she calls “pseudo-specimens.”

“I call my fictitious subjects ‘pseudo-specimens’ because they are a hybrid of plant, animal, synthetic and human imagery, morphed together like the project of a mad scientist,” said McManus. “They are portraits that are not of people, and still-lifes that are not necessarily still.”

Assistant Professor of Art and gallery director, Jason Hoelscher, recommends all students and faculty, regardless of their interest in visual art, visit McManus’ exhibition.

“McManus has grown dramatically as a painter during her three years of graduate studies, from painting things like flowers and other nature scenes—quite well, I might add—to exploring more complex ideas like bio-hacking, genetic engineering, and the increasingly hazy distinctions between the natural and the artificial,” said Hoelscher. “I would urge all to come see her thesis exhibition to see a contemporary take on important issues in society and art, presented in thought-provoking and lushly painted form.”

All events are free and the public is invited to attend.

The Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art (BFSDoArt) is committed to offering quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students to become professional artists, designers, art historians and industry leaders. The BFSDoArt is recognized as an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). For more information, visit

The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) is the largest of the eight colleges that make up Georgia Southern University, and it plays a central role in every student’s core of knowledge. CLASS, also described as the University’s College of the Creative Mind, prepares students to achieve academic excellence, develop their analytical skills, enhance their creativity and embrace their responsibilities as citizens of their communities, their nations and the world. CLASS offers more than 20 undergraduate degrees and several interdisciplinary minors from its 11 departments and five academic centers. CLASS offers eight master’s degrees, two graduate certificates and one doctoral degree.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.


Posted in Gallery Programming