I draw fantasy empires, battlegrounds, and made-up stories. I work primarily in ink and watercolor, because I love the frenetic lines, immediacy and mysterious light I can achieve with these materials. My edgy, apocalyptic paintings are partly based on memories and haunting images of Southern landscapes and scenes of rural detritus, but they’re also just pure fantasy, and could be scenes from anywhere. The gorgeous landscape and complicated culture of my native Mississippi formed the vocabulary of my work, but these scenes are also universal. They represent my attempt to capture the human struggle to find meaning, and the dark humor which often accompanies our struggles and foibles. Sometimes I focus closely and paint single houses or interiors, individual stories, while other times the paintings represent whole vistas of suspended endeavor and entire villages.
I often incorporate threats of war, battles between rich and poor, and personal demons. To me, the idea of telling peoples’ stories from the junk they hoard and spaces they leave behind is both personal, based on experience, and universal. Spaces, vast and intimate, can be seen as metaphors for inner, existential battles. Human spaces are impermanent, transient stage- sets. In our detritus, there is humor, along with evidence of the struggle to survive. But as with most stories, the meanings are usually ambiguous, even to me.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jill Shoffiett lives, works, and parents in New York’s Hudson Valley. Raised by a single mother in Mississippi, she left home in 1999 to pursue a MFA from Pratt Institute and never went back. Jill’s work has been shown in many places, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Drawing Center in NYC, and several other places throughout New York City, plus state-wide and nationally. Her paintings are in various private collections and publications. Jill’s watercolor landscapes and interiors are based upon memory and imagination. The subject matter, while darkly humorous, “Southern-Gothic,” and deeply connected to Jill’s Mississippi roots, demonstrates her abiding interest in human determination, survival, and identity, and reflects her day to day experiences as well as memories from her past.
© Jill Shoffiett