Recent Drawings by Jessica Gondek
Loyola University Chicago
Jessica Gondek's recent drawings consider the relationship between human beings and machines - a theme she has explored since the early days of her career. In the complex world Gondek sets before her viewers, machines are not simply friend or foe, but tools contributing to the quality of human life while at the same time challenging and even threatening human beings' central position in the universe. Today, this problematic relationship remains as important for understanding the modern human condition as it was a century ago when such concerns were taken up by Marcel Duchamp, Hannah Hoch, Francis Picabia and Man Ray. In fact, Gondek acknowledges the influence of these early twentieth-century artists, and just as they frequently incorporated found objects - twodimensional images of machines or machine parts - in their collages and photomontages, she, too, has turned to popular culture for her sources. In the works on view in the current exhibition, her source images also date from the beginning of the last century. At one level her incorporation of materials from this period reinforces her connections to the artists whose examples have influenced her, yet, at the same time, her choices carry with them the patina of history and cannot escape a certain nostalgia owing to the relatively uncomplicated nature of the machines parts - for example, simple gear wheels and handoperated cranks -- she has chosen to reproduce. This historical gulf is intensified by her manipulation of the source objects via computer-aided design and the digital printer; a process made possible by machines far more sophisticated than those elements depicted in the drawings themselves. Finishing the works with hand additions in charcoal and pastel, Gondek employs a range of artistic tools, commenting on the artist as intermediary between tradition and innovation.
Gondek, Jessica J., "A.I.R. Gallery: Enterprising Machines" (2017). Department of Fine & Performing Arts: Faculty Publications and Other Works. 20.
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© Jessica Gondek 2017