December 11, 2015 at 1:45pm

Millikin Studio Art major looks to human attributes for inspiration

Jessica Brooks Sebok

As part of the fulfillment of degree requirements, Millikin University studio art majors are to create and host exhibits that showcase outstanding works of art in areas such as painting, drawing and mixed media. Jessica Brooks Sebok, a senior from Decatur, Ill., will be highlighting her artwork, Dec. 12-18 in Perkinson Art Gallery, during an exhibit titled "Polygenesis."

"Building" is the word Sebok uses to describe the process by which she creates her work. It is the most appropriate word to use because she creates her pieces in layers. Each builds upon the last and each rises higher off the surface than the one before it.

Jessica Brooks SebokSebok has experimented with clay, water color, mixed media and drawing, but her primary focus remains in painting the human face with the help of acrylics in combination with a pallet knife. Sebok paints the spaces in between the lines that make up the most complex and telling of human attributes.

Looking at Sebok's work from afar, viewers will see prolific human expressions on canvas. Drips, chunks, flecks, streams and strokes of color tangle on the surface to make up expression and emotion underneath. Her work draws attention to the millions of tiny, unnoticed pieces that work together to make the whole.

"I start by using a reference photo to lay down the first layers of shadow and this enables me to build the portrait from my imagination," said Sebok. "My paintings and drawings are not reproductions, they are a representation of how I freely combine and build faces. It is exciting for me that these are not real people but that my viewers try to attach a body, a history, and an emotion to them anyway."

Sebok will be earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art during Millikin University's Winter Commencement on Dec. 13. For more information on Sebok and her work visit

Sebok added, "Each individual viewer creates a new person based on a face that I provide. This is why I leave facial expressions somewhat ambiguous. I do not want all the answers to be there. I want the viewer to come up with their own answers."

Jessica Brooks SebokThe Perkinson Art Gallery, located in Kirkland Fine Arts Center, is a premiere venue for the exhibition of visual art and cultural events in central Illinois. Perkinson Gallery hosts a wide range of exhibitions that focus on work by professional artists from Illinois and the Midwest, in addition to work by artists with national recognition.

Artists who have exhibited in Perkinson Gallery include: John Fraser, Frances Hynes, Lynne Cohen, Anita Jung, Michael Onken, Harold Boyd, David Bower, Todd DeVries, and Ray George, among others. The gallery has 2,000 square feet of floor space, with 132 linear feet of wall space. Perkinson Gallery also hosts annual student and faculty exhibitions. Patrons may view the displayed work daily Monday - Friday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.