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Jacqueline Surdell: Adoration Garden

August 25 – December 9, 2023

Jacqueline Surdell’s primary tool is her body. Systems of play, discipline, and pressure generate sculptures born from hand-manipulating dock cord, knotting and weaving lines into naturalistic forms that appear like nests, built by and for the body. Her creatures and their enclosures bind together themes of memory, identity, and the human experience. Playing competitive volleyball for ten years taught Surdell how to identify and utilize the primal matter of energy, space, and momentum. Her works trace her family history and private life while fostering discussion around labor, gender, and sexuality.

Following the unexpected passing of her paternal grandmother, Surdell’s 2023 AEIVA exhibit, Adoration Garden, explores the artist’s journey of loss. It attempts to explore and sculpt the architecture of grief while questioning commonly held beliefs around mourning. Reconciling with her Catholic upbringing, Surdell draws visual and symbolic references from the monumental bronze canopy or baldachin, in St. Peter’s Basilica. The sentient forms stand guard, digilently showing us ways to envelop others in the kind of patient, caring regard that makes them feel seen, heard and understood.

Jacqueline Surdell is from Chicago, IL. The city’s history of industry, labor and Midwest grit plays a significant role in Surdell’s work. She received a BA from Occidental College in Los Angeles and her MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her recent solo and group exhibitions include Devening Projects, Chicago; Library Street Collective, Detroit; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Bedford Gallery, San Francisco and international shows in Japan, Belgium, and the Netherlands.


Installation View 

1   R5A 8797
2   R5A 8788
3   R5A 8795
4   R5A 8796
5   R5A 8789
6   R5A 8793