In America, the turning tides of economic, political, and social change have left our communities bifurcated and broken. Awakened by this chaos, I create quilts in an attempt to mend this conflict. My quilts offer protection, warmth, and comfort to those who seek respite from anger, pain, and despair. The works abstractly depict a variety of symbolic barriers, often referencing architectural structures, such as fences, gates, hedges, and walls. My intent is to separate the viewer from something lovely yet inaccessible beyond their reach. By putting the viewer on one side of this barrier, I recall systemic forms of racism, like redlining and gerrymandering, that divide communities with visible and invisible barriers. One antidote to fragmentation is unity. A quilt, by definition, is an object that harmoniously brings together disparate pieces into one united, functional form. To create these quilts, I repurpose fabrics found or purchased from thrift stores and yard sales across the country. I see these stained, discarded hand-me-downs, as stand-ins for their previous owners. Their unification can imply the magnitude of what is possible when different parts, and people, come together harmoniously.
Jessica Wohl received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2001 and her MFA from the University of Georgia in 2010. Originally trained as an illustrator with a specialization in Art History, her studio practice now includes drawing, painting, embroidery, quilting, collage and installation. Wohl’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Belfast Photo Festival, the Robert Mann Gallery in New York, and the Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville. Her work has also been exhibited at venues in Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, Kansas City, England, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hong Kong, and Korea, and has recently been featured in New American Paintings, Burnaway, Hyperallergic, Vogue and ArtNews. Her work is collected by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sprint-Nextel Corporation, the H&R Block World Headquarters, numerous private collectors, and is included in the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of the South where she teaches Drawing and Painting.
Experience the art of Jessica Wohl in Peripheral Vision No. 8
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