24″ x 24″
I was introduced to the work of Philadelphia based artist Jeffrey Stockbridge through my position at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts where he had an exhibition in 2011. The show featured interiors and portraits. I became enamored with the interiors of abandoned homes in and around Philadelphia, but purchasing one at the time was not feasible for me. When I heard Jeff was donating a work of art to our annual art auction I knew I had to have it. This photograph is significantly different than the work that was in his exhibition. It depicts a pile of discarded Christmas trees in what appears to be a park or abandoned city block. I fell in love with this image. I find it to be so quiet and peaceful. I was actually fairly surprised after I purchased it when friends started saying that it was “sad” or “depressing.”
I get that response a lot from my own work as well – even though I don’t see it as such. I really enjoy exploring the idea of the mundane or the forgotten. Perhaps this is what draws me to Jeff’s work. In my own paintings I make – what I like to think of as – insect death portraits. I find dead bugs and make somewhat tedious, slow paintings of them using traditional mediums and techniques. This intimate process is very important to me, even though it is not always apparent in the finished work.
Most people would not see a direct link between Jeff’s work and mine and I think that is important. It has always been more interesting to look at and be inspired by artists working in a completely different process than my own. I think being surrounded by works or art that you love and that challenge makes life exciting!
Oil on panel
33″ x 14″
Jane Chesson is a painter, teaching artist and the Director of Education at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.