Artist Statement

In my studio practice, I sift through pockets of knowledge, making connections between themes of disembodiment, dissociation, the uncanny, and Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture to better understand various aspects of the human experience and my own mind-body connection.

The uncanny is inherently linked to the body. I illustrate fragmented and fragmentary Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture in my paintings to investigate dissociation, the bodies-in-pieces serving as a metaphor for disembodiment. There is a tendency to gloss over the broken state of the sculptures, mentally filling in the gaps rather than analyzing the work as it exists today. Likewise – despite its proliferation in the post-Enlightenment world – the uncanny is somewhat under-researched, with popular discussion focusing on the most obvious displays rather than more subtle ones. I am intrigued by this seeming lack of critical analysis, raising questions about the uncanny and fragmented ancient sculpture in my work.

My palette is highly saturated, with a noted use of rich blues, jewel-tones, and deep black, recalling the polychromatic truth of these ancient sculptures. I avoid any pigment that might be interpreted as stone or flesh as a way to focus on the fragmentary nature of the figures without evoking the abject. I juxtapose mindful, detailed illustration of these forms with intuitive mark-making techniques and elements of chance.

Artmaking is an act of embodiment, allowing me to physically process that which is chiefly mental. By employing what I know of the uncanny, my work creates lingering questions and continual contemplation – what is seen versus what is hidden, what is overlooked or left unaddressed, and a reflection on the experience of the uncanny and (dis)embodiment.

Aisling Jelinski