TRENTON – To her list of professional accomplishments -- artist, photographer, professor, publisher -- Dominica Paige is eager to add one more: organizer.
“I obsessively arrange things,” Paige said during a reception and artist talk at Mercer County Community College's (MCCC) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG). “Objects on the walls in my home, in my office, in my medicine cabinet...if you guys were to come over and see my medicine cabinet, you would see that everything has its place.”
Paige’s work is currently on display at JKCG for the show “Kissed & Toothless,” an exhibit that combines photography with installation works featuring “found objects” uniquely arranged to tell a story, but in such a way to evoke thought about what the combination of objects mean.
“When we were putting this show together, a bit of discussion took place on how we describe this show,” said JKCG Director Michael Chovan-Dalton. “I described it as walking through a 100-year-old home, like at an estate sale, where the family has completely disappeared and all you have to go on are these things as to what their lives were like.”
There are many examples of Paige’s photography on display, but much of the exhibit consists of actual objects displayed on shelves, all with a seeming mystical connection. Some of the objects, Paige said, are items purchased at flea markets or garage sales. Others are of a more personal nature. But all have a story to tell.
“Just putting things on shelves signifies that it is something special,” Paige said. “But it may have a meaning to myself more than what is necessary.”
And sometimes things are purposefully arranged out of context -- often for a bit of comic relief.
“We all played Monopoly, so putting a Monopoly piece under a bell jar – something you would reserve for something precious – is something I found really funny,” Paige said.
In some ways, Paige’s exhibit at JKCG is a protest against the modern digital world – where the tangible has made way for the virtual. While photography remains a passion, Paige said she rarely goes to photo exhibits, as the images can be viewed just as easily on a computer screen. And while “Kissed & Toothless” could have been an exhibit of her photography with the same theme, she chose to give the viewer a more in-depth experience.
“I love things that are tangible. I love things that I can touch and hold and feel,” Paige said. “We live in a digital world that is ever growing and ever expanding. This could have all been photographed, and could have been an entire photo show, but I didn’t feel like that was necessary or what I wanted it to be. I wanted a different experience for the viewer.”
“Kissed & Toothless” will be on display at the JKCG through Oct. 8. Gallery hours are Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. More information on this and upcoming shows is available at www.mccc.edu/jkcgallery.