Jacquelyn Gleisner (b. 1984, Buffalo, New York) began studying fine art and art history at Boston University in 2002. At BU, she was classically trained in drawing, painting, and sculpture. As a junior, Jacquelyn studied abroad at the Scuola Internazionale de Grafica in Venice, Italy. The following year, Jacquelyn returned to Boston and graduated with honors in 2006.
Two years later, Jacquelyn continued her investigation of pattern-based abstraction at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She received an MFA from the painting department in 2010. The same year she was awarded a Fulbright Grant and a position as a Visiting Researcher at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.
In October 2015, Jacquelyn traveled to Botswana with two other American artists for ten days of cultural programming through the Arts in Embassies Program. Jacquelyn taught workshops on painting and gave public talks about her work in Maun, Molepolole, and Gaborone. Her painting, Scroll VII, 2015, will remain installed at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana, Earl R. Miller for the duration of his service in Botswana.
In addition to her studio practice, Jacquelyn writes about contemporary art. She has been a regular contributor to Art21’s online magazine since 2011, and she has launched two new columns for the site, “Praxis Makes Perfect” and “New Kids on the Block.” Jacquelyn was the Guest Editor for the Sincerity Issue, Volume 11, July/August 2015. She has also contributed to Hyperallergic, the Art New England magazine, the Two Coats of Paint blog, among others. In October 2018, Jacquelyn launched Connecticut Art Review, a writing platform for the arts in and around the state.
She currently teaches at the University of New Haven as a Practitioner in Residence.
I am interested in patterns, surface design, and decoration. The impulse to decorate and embellish is present in ancient textiles and other forms of handicraft. Yet throughout history, cultural perceptions of ornament, color, and decoration have varied. Patterns and color have the ability to conflate or open space, to entice or repel a viewer. I view my artistic practice as an extension of my political beliefs as a feminist who strives for gender, racial, and social equality.
In 2014, I began developing a series of scrolls, based on patterns that mimic weavings and other forms of handiwork. The scrolls represent a harmony of opposites—a union of aesthetic traditions rooted in both craft and fine art contexts with references to tropes in abstract painting, especially from the 1960s and 1970s. Explicitly created on paper—a material structure that is accessible yet fragile—these scrolls are photographed in natural and constructed environments. Inside a parking garage or on a bed of snow, the scrolls become interwoven in a community and a specific setting, presenting alternative narratives about how paintings exist in this world.
Recent iterations of the scrolls have been repurposed into site-specific installations. My continued interest in patterning has also led to a series of works on paper exploring knots. These knots are a a visual metaphor for patterning found in the natural world as well as our genetic sequencing. The series delves into repetitive cycles of creation and destruction while touching on the ethical concerns of an emerging field, genetic engineering.
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