It’s hard to find a link between Mark Hosford and Janice Jakielski, the artists paired up for Redux’s new show Subtle Imperfections. Hosford’s illustrations are dark, comic-like explorations of his memories, while Jakielski’s pretty, delicately embroidered head dresses are inspired by musicals from the 1930s. Their work is vastly different in style and composition, but their bond is reflected in the title of the show. “Rather than represent pristine images, these remarkably created works are examples of the human truth in all of us,” says Redux’s new executive director Stephanie Coakley. “We each are perfection with occasional moments of disturbance, fragility, and unease.”
Hosford’s major flaw? His memory. “I have an overactive imagination but can’t remember anything,” the Nashville-based artist says. “There are all of these moments from my past that I think I remember, but family members tell me they never happened. The drawings allow me to catalog my thoughts.” His work is based on Rorschach tests, a commonly used psychoanalysis method that asks subjects to look at a series of ink blots and respond with free association. Is it a butterfly or a mad man, a flower or a vagina? Hosford’s “faulty memory” inspired him to question the concept of truth, resulting in a series of visceral, complex ink drawings depicting animals, skulls, and tortured-looking faces. “When I make art, I make art about the things in my mind, the things that are troubling me,” he says. “The process is cathartic. When I’m feeling happy and at peace, I don’t feel the need to draw about it. Making art is a way of making sense of the world.”
Hosford admits to being a socially awkward child, spending much of his childhood drawing. “I’ve got to open up and be true to what happens,” he says. “I let the drawing take over and do its thing.” In “Mule Train,” a skull sits in the center of the drawing, flanked by duplicate images of angry bull-like animals whose lower limbs are tightly wound with rope. Filled with vibrant colors and “iconically graphic compared to the neurotic drawings,” Hosford’s screen prints offer a balance to the heavier drawings. Using simplistic symbols and action, the screen prints pop with bold colors.
Where Hosford’s work examines the darkness of our emotions, Jakielski tries to make viewers laugh. Using meticulous craftsmanship, the Massachusetts-based artist created a series of headpieces that are attached at the back by a pair of bellows, most often used to start a fire. The delicate folds of silk are skillfully crafted to create a bizarre blend of art and interaction. “I find these to be humorous in a wry kind of way,” Jakielski says. “I love the imagined interaction with another person, trying to navigate through spaces together, pulling apart, pushing back together. It’s funny but also a commentary on negotiating relationships, the give and take of partnerships.”
Jakielski’s father introduced her to Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire musicals from the 1930s when she was a child, which she has continued to watch over the years. “I’m a bit of an escapist. I think this is reflected in my work so it makes sense that I’m attracted to Depression-era escapist films. I’ve been obsessed with the same six to 10 films since I was eight years old, and now I subconsciously draw from the sets and costumes in my work. For example, I may deign a specific fold and then three months later, while watching one of the movies, I realize it’s a reflection of the wallpaper design in Ginger Rogers’ stateroom.”
Jakielski, whose background is in ceramics, doesn’t like to confine her works with a label, but says the best description is mixed media sculpture. “I enjoy that my objects can reside in many places at once, sliding easily between art, craft, design, and fashion.”
While Hosford’s screen prints and drawings are internally driven works, Jakielski is driven by the desire to create connections. “The challenge of my non-interactive body objects is how do I entice the viewer to interact with the object in a non-physical way — through their imagination.”
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