Exhibition Dates: June 5th – August 14th, 2021
Jacqueline Surdell: I started from a place of embracing that which I cannot control
Reception: Saturday, June 5th, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Everyone is welcome! Booking is not required. Masks are required.
Pre-Reception Walkthrough at 1:00 pm: Join us as Rebekah Frank, artist and writer, along with Patricia Sweetow walk through the exhibition with Jacqueline Surdell. (Seating will not be available)
Rebekah Frank received her Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2012 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas State University in 2010. Rebekah’s writing focuses on artists creating in the imaginary divide between craft and fine art, with special attention paid to queer artists who thrive in this liminal space. She worked with Art Jewelry Forum, an international nonprofit dedicated to the appreciation of art jewelry, from 2012 to 2018, leading the organization as the executive director from 2015 to 2018. Rebekah’s studio practice is based in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, and she exhibits, lectures, and teaches workshops all over the world.
In our ongoing focus of artists working on the cusp of material culture, PATRICIA SWEETOW GALLERY is pleased to present Chicago artist Jacqueline Surdell in her first one-person exhibition, “I started from a place of embracing that which I cannot control”. This amazing young artist employs complex knotting, weaving, cutting and tying, upending a story of American idealism. The tapestries in the exhibition emerged since the lockdown of 2020, they reflect the angst of the times, triple knotted into complex terrains, a true gift of transference!!
Jacqueline Surdell’s fine art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Fiber and Material Studies, along with her athletic training, have yielded a unique facility in coaxing solutions from malleable materials through full body engagement. Recruited and trained as a competitive collegiate volleyball player, Surdell understands pushing through physical and psychological resistance, questioning ‘what’s possible’. That same persistence applies in her studio practice, where from the loose bones of a sketch she stretches, rends and knots tapestries, resulting in monumental works bearing no resemblance to their original draft.
The physical demands of her process are extreme, with an oversized constructed loom and no mechanical assist for the weft. Jacqueline becomes her own shuttle, carrying pounds of rope and sundry materials, her force providing necessary tensile strength. The finished works are suspended by wood or steel rods, weighing an average of 150 lbs.
The works on view begin with a shower curtain, whose imagery depicts a single painting from the Hudson River School of Art in the 19th century. Those heroic paintings offer a burgeoning national and spiritual American Ideal, an accordant utopia. In metaphoric disassociation with those artists, Surdell delivers a blow, as she shreds the curtains, disrupting their harmony. She employs historical knotting techniques from Korea, Japan, and First Nations, as well as maritime, architecture and fashion to surround and contravene the cultural homogeneity of the Hudson School with exquisite unmannered, reckless expanses. That one could imagine a redrawn historical map of articulated marred and damaged vistas in cascading geologic relief, whether planned or intuitively pursued, earmarks Surdell’s art.
An emerging artist Jacqueline Surdell, b.1993, lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. She received her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. In 2015 she received her BFA from Occidental College, Los Angeles, California. Through June 12th, the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek presents A Beautiful Mess, Weavers and Knotters of the Vanguard, a survey exhibition of fiber artists, including Jacqueline Surdell. Other exhibitions include New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere. Her first international exhibition at Kunsthal KAdE, The Netherlands, “This Is America | Art USA Today”, curated by Robbert Roos placed her with art luminaries and rising talent including Alfredo Jaar, Andres Serrano, Catherine Opie, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Cosmo Whyte, Derrick Woods-Morrow, Dread Scott , Edgar Heap of Birds, Guerilla Girls, Hank Willis Thomas, INDECLINE, Jeffrey Gibson, Julie Buffalohead, Robert Longo, Sam Durant and Sheila Pree Bright. Jacqueline Surdell’s tapestry along with Jeffrey Gibson’s boxing bag was featured in a review of the exhibition written by Janneke Wesseling, published in the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad.