Oil Paintings by Jessica Laney

Jessica Laney is a senior, majoring in both art and multimedia arts and sciences at UNC Asheville. 

An opening reception will be held Friday, May 1, at 4:00 pm.

The exhibit will be on display May 1-19, 2009.

Press Release


Artist's Statement

I have been working on developing my serial painting work, based on the theme of animal-human interaction, for the past year.  The work began as a blunt juxtaposition of a human and animal figure in an interior space, as seen in Arachnidan, Anorectic, and Sympathetic Parade.  These pieces were meant to create a questioning or confrontational dialogue between the rational human element and the irrational or chaotic animal.  In these first paintings, I created a physical and psychological dialogue between the human and animal subjects, as they were meant to represent parts of a segregated human mind.  As I furthered explored these ideas, I realized that the tension between the ordered and the chaotic was what I was interested in generally, and thus began to further separate the human and animal elements in order to analyze them more completely. 

The second phase of my serial work began with removing the human element completely from the piece, and placing it with the observer of the work itself.  In the piece Cicadas, I created a 24-panel ‘mosaic’ of whole and dismembered cicadas at a close view.  The evenly spaced and sized panels was meant to diminish any overt emotional component in the interpretation of the cicadas, and present them in a more observational, analytical way. Avian Sequence presents a naturalistic subject, a bird, in flight and in death.  The carved lines in the flight pieces create a sense of physical, geometric analysis over the natural form, while the dead birds reference the stuffed and mounted birds found in biological collections and museums.  The objective of these paintings was to strongly associate the human and the animal, even when the human is not physically present at all in the painting.

The third part of the series places human and animal figures together using the references of myth and symbolism.  Gyr Dive and Headdress are the first pieces in this, and introduce the concepts of human and animal forms merging or converging.  Throughout the series, a major theme is the inability of any of these phases to resolve the rational/irrational divide in human perception, but the imaginative aspects serve to expand human thought, and exist as a great inspiration to me philosophically and artistically.

My future goals are to continue working with my ideas on the interaction of the ordered and the chaotic, using the metaphorical mediums of human and animal.  I am planning more pieces that mesh humans and animals physically and symbolically, while referencing ancient religions that did the same.  My main focus for these works will be the psychological perceptions of the animal/chaotic element with a strong focus on the processes of life and death.  I plan to work in oil paint mainly on canvas and panel, with some works strongly influenced by the use of multiple panels to further manipulate the ideas of order and chaos on the compositional level.

- Jessica Laney


Updated 21 April 2009. Comments to the Library Web Team.

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