Jaclyn Wright: Marked
February 1 , March 8, 2019
Snow College Art Gallery
Jaclyn Wright: Marked features recent works that combine traditional photographic techniques with contemporary digital processes. This hybrid approach to image-making affords Wright the ability to merge photography’s fluid representation of reality with her interest in the residual effects of misogyny, the power dynamics of the gendered body, as well as the societal privileges of the white body. Throughout the exhibition the work oscillates between depicting Wright’s own vulnerability and privilege, employing various ways of representing her body as the primary subject to address complex gendered and racialized issues.
The title Marked immediately refers to a prominent birthmark on Wright’s neck that has continually prompted verbal and physical abuse by strangers and appears in her work through the mimicry of its shape or similarity of its color. Furthermore, she considers other “birthmarks” one could attribute to her body—specifically gender and race. “White woman have the ability to mask gender or race to benefit social capital.” Wright continues, “Masking these overlapping identities conflicts with intersectional feminism, which acknowledges how race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. have an impact on experiences of oppression and discrimination.”
Wright applies this concept of marking and masking in the production of the artwork in Marked from masking film to marking dark slides or masking her body with skin-suits to marking photo paper as a means to depict the nuances of identity. In this way the work responds to her primary concerns by, as Wright states, “reducing the body to skin tone, gender, and flesh as a way to examine the dehumanization of the female body while questioning the privileged body.”
Wright’s interest in marking and masking has materialized in a conglomeration of contemporary image-based forms and conventional photographic mediums that include: dye sublimation photographic prints on aluminum with laser cut shapes; a grid of 75 Silver Gelatin prints; wallpapered vinyl images; and a single-channel video featuring the artist in various home-made skin suits with a green screen in the Utah landscape. Wright also exhibits source materials and tools used to produce these works. Revealing such objects is often seen as demystifying, but Wright complicates these items by altering them from or with parts of her body. For instance, a dark slide (used to expose film in a large format camera) is laser cut in the shape of Wright’s birthmark, rendering it only useful as a primary tool for creating the aforementioned grid of 75 silver gelatin prints. Another example is a hanging display of a pair of saggy and stretched “nude” bodysuits that are made from a medley of dried flesh tone paint blobs sampled directly from the artist’s skin, both of which are worn throughout her video piece.
Through technical skill, sharp wit, and surprising humor, Jaclyn Wright: Marked addresses timely social issues about privilege, race, and gender in the United States. Deeper yet, the exhibition reveals the artist’s vulnerability in acknowledging the complex issue of privilege from what she acknowledges as her own privileged position. It is from this position that Wright is careful to not offer any answers—rather, examines what questions should be asked.
Jaclyn Wright is an interdisciplinary artist and educator originally from the Great Lakes region. She has previously served as the visiting artist at the University of Cincinnati, the artist in residence at Latitude Chicago, and guest co-editor of Papersafe Magazine, “Turbulent Bodies / A Cross, A Wild Sea”. Wright has also exhibited work at David Weinberg Gallery, Chicago; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia; Perspective Gallery, Chicago; Sala Muncunill, Barcelona, Spain; Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Chicago; and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah to name a few. Following her 2016 monograph, “Afterglow: Compact, Orientable, Spacelike” which was included in the top ten artist books at LA Art Book Fair, write published an essay and contributed images for the publication Too Good to be Photographed, which explores the various sides of photographic failure. She received her BA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois and her MFA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. In 2018 she accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Photography & Digital Imaging at the University of Utah, College of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City.
Jaclyn Wright’s exhibition is organized by Snow College Art Gallery’s Director Jason Judd.
Friday, February 1
6 to 8 pm