Recent Drawings by Jackie Skrzynski
Opening Reception – Sunday, March 4, 2-5 pm
On View Monday, March 5 – Thursday, April 26, 2018
Throughout her career, Jackie Skrzynski’s work has challenged physical and psychological boundaries between humans and nature. In this most recent work, she collapses the perception of interior and exterior space. Her large charcoal drawings of swirling forms and tangles suggest similarities between anatomical and botanical forms. Skrzynski writes that her imagery is inspired by her time in the woods near her home. Observing growth, decay and rebirth, she intends to convey her perception of nature as equally beautiful and unsettling. Perhaps the somewhat grotesque imagery is mitigated by the lushness and velvety quality of her drawing.
In her statement, Skrzynski describes her references as pulling from facial features, nerve cells, tree roots and vines. She writes that her daily walks through the woods near her home provide inspiration and a sense of connection with a larger natural system. In the safety of the studio and through the act of drawing, she depicts what she finds visually compelling, allowing her subconscious to manifest through imagery and mark making.
My drawings reference everyday observations I make of facial features, botanical forms, and anatomical elements. I combine them in a way that allows my subconscious to suggest imagery that visually and conceptually ties them together. By collaborating with my subconscious, and, importantly, overriding more rational, conventional depictions of portraiture and nature, I pay homage to the surrealists’ method of creating art.
The first time I visited the Seligmann Center was in 2010. I specifically went to see Kurt Seligmann’s print Exotic Garden because I was drawn to the painting’s haunting beauty. Over time, I learned Kurt Seligmann was deeply inspired by his time in nature, particularly the landscape around his home in Sugar Loaf. I also find my inspiration in my daily walks through the woods. I feel a connection to work like Envelopment (Mountain Spirit) A Mythological Trilogy (1959 oil on canvas.) and Moonscape (1959 oil on canvas). I see a similarity in inspiration, process and imagery between our works.
Recently, I became interested in the concept of “half-life” which describes a state when half of a substance has dissipated and half remains. While often used in measuring radioactivity, the term resonates for me when applied to a fallen tree. As it ages, a tree gets invaded by insects, drilled by woodpeckers, and covered by vines until it falls over dead. This marks its half-life. While it no longer “produces,” the tree continues to nourish the ecosystem as it decays. To me, this suggests a way to approach aging. Like the tree, I feel myself dissipating into my surroundings. I describe aging through the lens of nature because it makes visual and philosophical sense. These are my thoughts as I draw, using charcoal and pencil because I love the physical contact with the materials and the immediacy of making marks.