This week Joe Bun Keo catches up with Jaclyn Conley. A 2004 graduate of the University of Guelph MFA program, Conley accepted a tenure-track position in 2010 at the Hartford Art School where she currently teaches painting and drawing. In 2006, she was selected for the Aldrich Museum's Radius Program for emerging artists.
Jaclyn Conley, A Donnybrook, 2012, oil on canvas, 40 x 34 inches. Images courtesy of the artist.
Jaclyn Conley, Done Over, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.
JBK: The animals seem to have wandered onto your composition. They seem to have stumbled into a still life without a live model. When an animal enters the worlds of humans, the sense of chance encounter seems to complete the world where there once was a void. How does your work relate to coexistence?
JC: The depicted animals are generally situated out of place. I like the idea of the peaceable kingdom and the whole history of images to take on the subject. The impossibility of it is implied and so we’re left with what to do with the unavoidable strife on both large and small scales. This isn’t unique between animals and humans and again I like to think of the animals as implied human figures caught in moments of aggression, passion, anxiety and play.
Jaclyn Conley, Soft Center, 2012, oil on canvas, 40 x 48 inches.
JC: Ultimately these are paintings, so going back to the nature of co-existence; I tend to see humans as having the upper hand in this arena. Humans dominate over something like image-making. For animals it’s irrelevant but if you believe that there is potentially power in imagery, like most aspects of the modern world, humans are the ones setting the terms. More broadly, this is the case with the types of animals that I tend to depict; those especially exotic, child-like and mostly mammalian ones that play the roles in so much of our story-telling. There are groups of animals, species and organisms that, perhaps with less complicated strategizing, continue to be in a position of control. I’m not sure how intelligence and sophistication play into it however; it’s such a human thing.
Jaclyn Conley, The Volcano, 2012, oil on canvas, 40 x 34 inches.
JC: I’m glad that they do have this effect. The paintings are planned carefully but are made very quickly and responsively and this is largely why they take on the look that they do. I’m more engaged with making and looking at work that requires some “filling in the blanks”. The paintings begin as propositions to myself and for them to remain active it’s important that they aren’t totally resolved in one way or another.
|Jaclyn Conley, Spotted From The Neck Down, 2011, oil on canvas, 36 x 40 inches.|
Jaclyn Conley, The Ballyhoo, oil on canvas, 2010, 30 x 24 inches.
Jaclyn Conley, You Make Me Feel Stupid, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches.
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