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An ‘inside’ look at art

A new exhibit in Northeastern’s Gallery 360 showcases the marvelous work of artist Mikki Shectman. The exhibit features eight abstract paintings, each with vibrant colors that she says captures the “romance of nature.”

“I’m really so grateful to Northeastern,” Shectman said. “It is wonderful to be recognized.”

On Friday night, Shectman was honored at a reception at Gallery 360 unveiling the exhibit, which will remain on display through November 2. The exhibit is entitled “Art as an ‘Inside Job.’”

When asked the meaning of “inside job,” Shectman recalls the story of when her instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts posed a simple question to her class: Where does the light come from? “The light is in my head,” Shectman answered, earning a glowing response from her instructor. But this exemplifies how she views her own painting process – she’s guided by her art, and will instinctively know what do to next.

Throughout her 50 years of painting, Shectman has also painted portraits, still life and narratives, and she’s found numerous sources of inspiration throughout her life to make her take shape on canvas – including religion, nature and jazz music. Shectman describes herself as a “natural colorist” – with a strong command of how different colors mesh and flow together on canvas.

Shectman said she draws strength from her family, including her daughter, Lizanne, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education and organizational learning from Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in leadership from CPS. Lizanne was instrumental in helping to organize the exhibit at Gallery 360.

“I’ve always known my mother was a good artist,” she said, recalling many days as a child when Mikki would take out her easel to paint, or the family would attend art shows and other cultural events. “She needs to be seen. She’s a hidden treasure.”

Born in Philadelphia, Shectman graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied at the Arts Students League in New York City, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania. In 1993, she was inducted into the Archives for Women Artists in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, located in Washington, D.C. She and her husband now live in Texas.