Thriving in Place: Jessica Oler - In Regards to Shadow and Light
30 x 40", Paper on Canvas
My present work is involved with space, movement, stagnation, and history that is generally worked through with video, photography, and/or collage. Seriality and collage are her instincts. A collection of various, specific things. Photographs. Tree bark. Trees. History. My body. Doorways to unknown lands. Skin. Implications of skin. Compositionally sound amongst the conceptual chaos. I utilize socio-political research and personal narrative as a guiding force to work through larger racial, geographical, and social investigations surrounding Blackness. At the moment I’m continuing to work through the concept of “unprotected Black female flesh”, initially born from my lived experience with Multiple Sclerosis thus far. With “unprotected Black female flesh” as the centerpiece of my thought processes, the various offshoots of engrained, systemic injustices are investigated. My most recent paper on canvas series focuses on Black Geographies. In Regards to Shadow and Light is in conversation with the light that exemplifies Black men and boys. The shadows represent the dimming elements of the oppressiveness of racism. I began my paper on canvas series during the Stay at Home Order. I have always found a sense of power, safety, and truth in my practice. Continuing to use my voice literally and figuratively, especially during aggressively challenging times, allows me to feel a little more free and able to cultivate a little more joy."
“Jessica Susan Oler is a Conceptual Artist. She earned her Master’s in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 2019. In addition to her Master’s Degree, she has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University and three Associates Degrees in Social Science, Liberal Arts, and Sociology. Since earning her Master’s she has successfully completed the Visual Art Residency in Chautauqua, New York. In addition to this she has been in art shows in Chautauqua, New York; Alexandria, NSW, Australia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Oakland and San Francisco, California; and Miami, Florida. Oler also has had the honor of being invited to speak at the School of Nursing at UC Davis for a ‘Race and Health’ seminar composed of graduate and medical students. There, she presented her research surrounding the navigation of disease development and artistic work. She views the human body as a landscape. Similar to the land we traverse, she believes we are made of histories. Put together, taken apart, shaped, reshaped, stood upon, slain upon. Forgotten and remembered.”