Artist Statement

I describe myself as someone who likes to hoard knowledge. First as a young child obsessed with mythology, then as a teenager taking every science class her school offered, later in college taking courses from five different disciplines – to put it simply, I like to know a lot. Art has been a constant part of my life, whether I was making my own or studying and appreciating the work of others. I have developed a studio practice which utilizes my wide-ranging interests through oil painting, ink painting, and printmaking.

The uncanny has become critical focus of my art. There is a particular feeling which humans experience where something unfamiliar has an air of familiarity – but not in a comforting sense. It is irksome and nagging, that of an unrecallable memory. Both as a reliable source of the uncanny and the site of its experience, I am continually drawn to the human figure. This is due, in part, to my own disconnect between body and mind. I live a primarily disembodied existence, and so the intersection between embodiment and the uncanny is of particular interest to me.

An important facet of artmaking for me is material. The smell and feeling of mixing oil paint; the repetitive, ritualistic motions of linoleum carving and hand printing; surrendering to the unpredictable nature of ink painting – these physical aspects of creation are just as important to me as the images’ content and message. Experimentation with layering, unconventional materials, interactive elements, and breaking outside of the strict rectangular canvas are all becoming important aspects to my practice. Color, or the lack thereof, along with the human figure continue to feature prevalently in my work. Through a combination of carefully illustrated Classical sculpture and intuitive mark-making, I seek to understand how themes of the uncanny and (dis)embodiment can be evoked and experienced in visual arts practice.

In addition to my studio practice, I am one of four co-founders of artlessBastard, an art gallery in De Pere, Wisconsin. Our goal is to showcase the local talent from our region, which is plentiful in skilled artists yet lacks gallery spaces for their work. In addition, we bring artwork from other national and international artists – England, Germany, and Brazil to name a few – to our little Fox Valley. The gallery has been under new ownership since October 2019, following my departure to Ireland for my MFA studies.

Aisling Jelinski