Reinventing Self

Collaboration Project with Amber Stene

Today’s social media and cultural pressures are causing many of us to rethink our very identities. Reinventing Self offers two female perspectives on altering one’s identity, and the thoughts and actions that ensue.

The identity one wishes to have and the changes we choose to incorporate into our lives, can be a reflection of the environment and its pressures around us – especially the pressure of social media, as inferred by witnessing the edited-to-perfection presentation of our friends lives on the Internet. The influence of this pressure to alter one’s persona, activities, or outlook, manifests differently for each individual.

Recently, two collaborative artists, Jodi Lightner and Amber Stene, found themselves in new environments, surrounded by new attitudes – Lightner in Billings, Montana, and Stene in Portland, Oregon. Their new surroundings caused them to identify physical and emotional opportunities to adapt, and then reflect on societal reactions those adaptations may create.  Fueled by these shared conditions, they developed a body of work that revealed disparate responses to the notion that the reinvention of one’s self is a necessity to gain acceptance in society.

Lightner and Stene have teamed up to create these works. Their process included taking turns concepting and starting a piece, then completing what the other had started. Drawing on their personal experiences from relocating and entering new social and work-related environments, their collaboration speaks to the human ability to adapt, alter, and ultimately reinvent one’s self to meet new environments and social challenges.


Jodi Lightner completed her MFA degree at Wichita State University in 2010. Her studio practice has included exhibitions nationally and internationally, including juried and invitational shows. Her work has been seen in Angle Gallery, Seattle, the AIR Gallery, New York City, and the Cocoon Gallery, Kansas City as well as other locations throughout the United States. She has participated in artist residencies focused on studio practice at the International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture in Montecastello diVibio, Italy, and the Vermont Student Center in Johnson, Vermont. Lightner was an emerging artist in residency at Penn State Altoona and currently teaches painting and drawing as an Assistant Professor at Montana State University-Billings. Her work is represented by Kim Weinberger Fine Art in Kansas City.

Amber Stene completed her MFA degree at Wichita State University in 2008 after a full career as an award-winning Graphic Design professional. Since switching careers, she’s exhibited in galleries in Seattle, Portland, Wichita, Tucson, Phoenix, and as a guest artist at Kim Weinberger Fine Art in Kansas City. Stene was a graphic design instructor at Northern Arizona University until moving to Portland in 2010. There, she taught foundation art at Art Institute Online, and water media at Portland Community College through 2014. Her studio practice centers on the figure in a surreal setting.