March 9: Opening reception for ‘The Look of Life’ exhibit at See Saw Gallery

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Look of life magazine cover

MANCHESTER, NH – Celebrate International Women’s Day with this art show by Jen Drociak, opening March 9 at See Saw Gallery on Hanover Street.

Meet Jen Drociak.  Always provocative. Always challenging the viewer to think more deeply. Drociak is an environmentalist who is well known for her engaging photography. Hers are the photos that don’t quite jump out at you but, rather, pull you into deeper thought. She engages us to step out of pre-defined roles and look at the world around us from a different point of view. While she often approaches environmental topics, in honor of International Women’s Day she’s released a series of collages that are based in the 1960s but are fully relevant to the front-page news issues of today.

Her show opens Saturday March 9 at See Saw Gallery with a reception at 4 p.m.
Here’s another strong and positive statement for small independent galleries that fill our city. Amy Regan, owner of See Saw Gallery, is never one to sidestep important discussions. And Liz Peroni’s Mosaic Art Collective represents a very active community-supported gallery for the many artists in our midst.
Fittingly, both galleries are women-led enterprises within a single location.  One visit to 66 Hanover St. (second floor) gives you access to two shows, the Look of Life and Mosaic Art Collective’s  Manchester With Love, artwork from Manchester high school students celebrating Youth Art Month.

About The Look of Life

  • Visuals: Juxtaposed images and text from 1960s LOOK and LIFE magazines collage into stories of fictitious women and their lives in the fictitious town of Pleasantville set in the 1960s.
  • When: Opens Saturday March 9, 2024 – through Saturday March 30, 2024 (Recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8th).
  • Opening Reception: Saturday March 9, 2024, 4 – 8 p.m.
  • Artist Talk (Via Instagram Live) on Monday March 18, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: See Saw Art, 66 Hanover Street Suite 201, Manchester

Jen Drociak Artist Statement:

Screenshot 2023 09 06 at 6.32.29 PM
Jen Drociak.

The LOOK of LIFE captures the stories of fictitious women in the fictitious town of Pleasantville in the 1960s. While creating these collages I intentionally paired images and text that were originally unrelated to one another. My objective was that these juxtapositions would be amusing on the surface, but ironic just below. As I was creating these, obvious themes quickly arose including gender stereotypes and roles, relationships and marriage, employment and wages, reproductive rights, and feminism.

Race and civil rights issues also made an appearance. Below the surface, however, darker themes emerged including sexual assault and abuse, emotional abuse, mental health, loveless marriages, and other marital issues. Further, “scandals” and taboo subject matters such as closet homosexuality, sexual fetishes, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, infidelity, murder for hire, and assassination emerged in this fictitious town.

When looking at the images of women and men in their original form in these 1960s magazines, I can clearly see that women have made great strides in areas of inclusion and equality in the nearly 60 years since then. But when I pair them with alternative text and create new stories for a new era, while a lot has changed, I still see common themes that have not. How do you compare “then” and “now” regarding these themes? 


Jen Drociak lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. She has a degree in Environmental Conservation and works full time as an environmentalist. In her spare time, she enjoys being an active member of her community, writing, art, graphic design, mid-century modern design and architecture, and local history. She writes poetry and has been published in several literary journals and is a photographer who studied at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and has exhibited throughout New England and in New York City.  She is the founder of “Love Manchester” t-shirt which can be found at Manchester Ink Link’s Merchandise Shop.

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Keith Spiro

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