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Jacquelyn Gleisner’s Cycles of Art

By Tessa Jillson

Artist, writer and educator Jacquelyn Gleisner put a new spin on pattern-based abstractions in her Mazmanian Gallery exhibition which opened Feb. 21.

Gleisner studied Ane art and art history at Boston University and graduated in 2006. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Fulbright grant to Finland in 2010.

She continues to teach painting workshops, write about other contemporary art and give public talks about her work all around the world.

Her show, “Ouroboros,” displays an infinite number of ways artists can reuse materials to recreate different forms of art.

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol which portrays a serpent eating its own tail. The symbol is initially a representation of infinite self-destruction and regeneration.

Gleisner’s art work, particularly her scrolls, illustrate the end of one form and the beginning of another.

The scrolls, according to Gleisner, are 30 feet long, each with their own unique woven pattern. The patterns depict the history of female- and male-dominated art, both the underrepresented and the emphasized.

She said a scroll’s pattern is based on female-dominated craft traditions such as macramé, embroidery and weaving. But each pattern has parts of male-dominated hard-edge abstractions woven in.

“Craft-based things do not have an elevated position in the art world versus hard-edge abstraction,” said Gleisner.

She often takes her scrolls and photographs them out in nature.

Director of the Mazmanian Gallery Tim McDonald said, “there’s an interesting thing that goes on with her work ... She places scrolls out in places where you wouldn’t expect them. Out in nature, near the water, under a bridge.”

She continues to work with scrolls but has purposely reformed a few for her recent project. The scrolls were cut up and reformed into triangular installations as a way of representing regeneration.

“I have future plans to take the paper and pulp it back into another form of paper, or use it again in some kind of other instillation. Use the same materials as much as I possibly can and keep it going that way,” she said.

Gleisner said she mostly works with paper- and water-based materials such as acrylic paint, ink, and gouache.

She said her process is very “fluid.” Gleisner usually starts out with a few sketches before her ideas take on a larger form.

“I start by making small paintings in my sketchbook. These paintings evolve into larger works on paper and painting on canvas,” said Gleisner.

Her artwork, besides the scrolls, show a continuation of infinite patterns, spaces and lines. Her work exposes conscious feelings and introspection, which is also another representation of the Ouroboros.

Sophomore Steven Furtney said, “The colors and patterns she chooses per piece capture a different emotion. There’s no specific image created, but the emotion is still there. ... It’s unique and I like that.”

Gleisner said, “I want to make art that makes people more aware of their surroundings. I like to think about installations in particular as a space for viewers to slow down and focus on looking and observing. Repetition, colors, and patterns are all vehicles for a person to become more aware of one’s thoughts or feelings by engaging more meaningfully with one’s surroundings.”


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