Opening reception: Sunday, March 1, 2015, 3-5 pm
Artist-led tour of the garden: Saturday, April 25, 2015, 3 pm
Robin Jebavy makes still life paintings of glassware. Her project, however, is much larger: to offer the viewer an experience that evokes the original, sublime, oceanic feelings of union with the strange and mysterious “other," of self with universe. Her paintings invite the viewer to part the curtain and sense oneness with the world--a state in which we found ourselves in the mother’s womb before birth, and from which we all emerged.
Glass is essential to Jebavy's attempt to represent the unique, elusive reality perceived by a person who has experienced a preternatural suspension of the ordinary distinction between a subjective self and the objective world. For Jebavy, the substance of glass lends itself well to the painting process she uses to represent this self-world fusion. Working with layer upon layer of glassware imagery, she generates an atmospheric field of luminous, chromatically intense, intricately woven crystalline labyrinths that invite the viewer to fall into the still life, to get a sense of what she, the artist, experienced. Heightened ambiguity of perspective inspires animation. Mandala-like forms at times double as eyes or serve as active symbols of a unified self-world view; field transforms into figure, suggesting the presence of a breathing life force.
Long fascinated by historical and contemporary still life paintings and their narrative, formal, and conceptual repercussions, Jebavy has a particular interest in Dutch Golden Age paintings. In them she finds the great paradox of Baroque art: that emotional extravagance, decadence, and alluring sensual appeal can be governed by rigid compositional control and technical virtuosity without losing their intensity and power. "And yet however fascinating this paradox," she observes, "I notice that the handling of space and perspective in these paintings almost invariably suggests distance between the artist and the still life forms." Her goal has been to offer a new space that shifts reality from a third-person to a first-person viewing perspective; to remove the space between the artist and the still life while at the same time retaining and recalling the intellectual clarity, beauty, explosive dynamism, celebratory tone, and heightened attention to detail and ornamentation reminiscent of the Baroque aesthetic that she loves.
In her compositions Jebavy often includes glassware forms that call to mind other Baroque artworks, such as Bernini’s expansive Baldachin in St. Peter’s Cathedral, or illusionistic Italian ceiling paintings and cathedrals, building altar-like architectural spaces that are at once intimate, domestic, and banal, and monumental, metaphysical, and transcendental. In recent paintings, she has experimented with the use of ornate cut-glass forms to achieve a feeling of the “embroidered” interconnectedness of self and world.
For coverage of the exhibition by Arts Without Borders, click here.
Urban Milwaukee Dial reviews the exhibition here.
The Wisconsin Gazette covers the exhibition here.
About the Artist
Robin Jebavy received a B.A. in Visual Arts and Philosophy from Bennington College in 2004, and an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing, with a Sculpture minor, from the University of Iowa in 2008. She has received many awards, fellowships and grants for her work. Jebavy has recently been offered a residency grant at Vermont Studio Center, a residency fellowship at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon, and was selected as a Robert Johnson Fellow at VCCA for a 2014 summer residency. She has had solo exhibitions in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and in Waterford and Waukesha, Wisconsin. Her next solo exhibition will be at the ICON Gallery in Fairfield, Iowa. Her paintings have been included in group exhibitions in Des Moines, Fairfield, and Iowa City, Iowa; and in Delafield, Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Waukesha, Wisconsin. Robin Jebavy maintains a studio in Waukesha, Wisconsin and teaches drawing at Carroll University. https://robinjebavy.wordpress.com/