Julia Jacquette’s Exhibit

Looking at Julia Jacquette’s pieces made me think a lot about depicting the ‘personal’ in art. After going through some of the pages of her book and walking through her exhibit with the guide, I wondered how each aspect of this experience must have been like for her. The first aspect I thought about was endeavoring to distill your experiences and emotions into something tactile and possibly stagnant in its movement (paintings for example). Was it incredibly stressful to try and show that? Does everything she’s created feel perfectly honest and an accurate depiction of what she imagines in her head? Are the stakes of all of these perfections and truths higher because this is about her and about the people she loves? When she depicts her mother, for example, does she worry that she will offend her or offend her own memory of her?

A second stage I thought about was pitching these ideas to other people, trying to get them to take her work professionally. If work was ever rejected, did that feel like a personal rejection of her life story and the way she decided to show it? Of course, most art has a degree of ‘the personal’, but I imagine that memoire work is more directly so.

A third quality I imagined was the way that the public reads your work once it’s out, their degree of personal interest or enjoyment of it. Did she worry that people wouldn’t associate the same objects that she depicts with the exact emotions that she cites? Was it more important to her to show how she felt or appeal to something that she hoped others felt? The work below is an example of this – the sensuous quality of the cream and the sweetness of the dessert could possibly be associated with intimacy for anyone, but it’s application seems to be one that’s specific to her own experience.

2 Replies to “Julia Jacquette’s Exhibit”

  1. Julia,

    I see exactly where you are coming from… if people reject her work of subjects such as her mother, it may feel as if people are rejecting her mother rather than the artwork itself. I would argue, however, that even if the subject matter is not directly related to the artist’s life, rejection of any aspect of his or her work could feel extremely personal. One could also say that memoir work doesn’t require as much creativity as abstract depictions because you are drawing from real experience.

    I also like your other point, wondering if Jacquette thought it was “more important to her to show how she felt or appeal to something that she hoped others felt.” I would imagine she cared more about how she felt, as I would hope she is not creating artwork solely to appease an audience.

  2. I think it is an interesting question, about fear of rejection when you are putting yourself/your story on the line.  This may be too Freudian of me but I think all work in some way expresses who you are, whether it’s a memoire/biographical or not.  I kind of think she doesn’t care how people interpret the art, but it will be interesting to see what she says.  I prefer people have a diverse range of reactions to art, rather than being told “what” it is, or how you should feel about it.

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