The Inventive Expression of Jacqueline Baerwald by Shannon Gallagher

Jacqueline Baerwald describes herself mostly as a painter, but her body of work encompasses a variety of genres, including mixed media, assemblage, and sculpture. Her current work combines painting, found objects, and poetry.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "Give Them Wings" Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “Give Them Wings” Acrylic on Books

The ‘My Melondy: Issues of Adolescence’ series is conceptual, featuring the recurring image of a young girl painted on stacks of found books. The books, which are entirely thrifted, found, or gifted from friends, are carefully curated and arranged so that the titles form a found poem, which ultimately becomes an integral part of the piece.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "What Little Girls Are Made Of" 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “What Little Girls Are Made Of” 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

The work explores the issues faced by young women today, including body image, abuse, and the effects of family dissolution. “The work isn’t based on my life as much as a handful of close girlfriends who experienced rather massive trauma in their lives. The darker paintings of the Melondy series, well… I can attach a name or several names to each one of them,” she explained.

"Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Melondy is this sort of cartoonish character I created. I started painting her in 2011, and for a long time, I really only associated her with the average teenage girl… I only personally related to her here and there,” she said. “It’s strange, because I used to feel very different from her, but now I’m realizing that she embodies a lot about myself.”

"All That Glitters" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“All That Glitters” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has enjoyed seeing how viewers relate to the work. “The work reflects a lot of pain,” she said, “but also hope- the idea that this isn’t the end of it.” I don’t know how comfortable I am with the word ‘activist,’ but the work is meant to instigate some sort of change. I don’t want to tell the viewer what that change is, but instead inspire them; to start a thinking process in their minds. I want art to be beautiful and interesting in technique, but also to make me stop and think about life, other people’s lives, the impact I have, and what I can do to make this world a better place, even in my small sphere of influence. At the core, that is what I’m trying to do with the ‘Melondy’ series.”

"Rock, Paper..." Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Rock, Paper…” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Prior to this series, the artist had been painting in a more realistic manner. “I want children and young people to enjoy the work as much as adults. This is the first time I’d tried something more cartoon-like, more whimsical. It’s been an interesting detour to go down this road, and [the work] seems to resonate with a lot of people,” she said. “The concept and symbolism- the ideas that I am going to convey through the imagery come first.

"You Are My Sunshine" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“You Are My Sunshine” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

The work uses this cute little character that people fall in love with to address issues that they don’t want to talk about. But she draws you in, and you want to love her, and you think about how she’s experiencing a lot of pain, and decide, ‘Let’s stop brushing this under the rug.’”

"Birds of a Feather" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Birds of a Feather” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has no shortage of concepts for new work. “I have a long log of ideas. If I had more time, I’d paint all of them. I do a lot of reading on all sorts of subjects, and I have a huge interest in the human condition. I end up reading a lot of things that have scientific or religious components to them, looking at different worldviews, various societal issues and mindsets. Ultimately,” she said, “my work distills more about what is going on in the active mind, how we can monitor our own thinking, and how our actions follow.”

"Sealed Lips" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Sealed Lips” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Jacqueline Baerwald’s work currently can be seen at ZIA Gallery.

Final Week- ‘Of Materials, Fiber and Book Arts’

ZIA Gallery’s latest exhibition: Of Materials, Fiber and Book Arts brings together an exciting variety of artists who choose to incorporate and transform diverse materials and techniques into amazingly inventive expressions.

Sculptures by Pamela MacGregor and large air brush paintings and quilting by Kathy Weaver

Sculptures by Pamela MacGregor and large air brush paintings and quilting by Kathy Weaver

The exhibition features gallery artists Melissa Jay Craig (sculptural handmade paper and book arts),

Melissa Jay Craig shows her brilliant talent in sculptural paper making.

Melissa Jay Craig shows her brilliant talent in sculptural paper making.

Ted Preuss (platinum palladium photography printed on skeleton leaves and contemporary wet-plate collodion tintypes),

Ted Preuss master of varying photographic processes and techniques

Ted Preuss master of varying photographic processes and techniques

and Kathy Weaver (air brush painting and embroidery on fabrics, stitched and quilted); and introduces new gallery artists Jacqueline Baerwald (paintings on sculpturally assembled found-books)

Jacqueline Baerwald's sculptural paintings.

Jacqueline Baerwald’s sculptural paintings.

and Paula Kovarik (drawing with stitches on fabric). PKinstallIn addition, ZIA Gallery has invited Alice Berry to show her wearable explorations in color, Ellen Green’s tattoo paintings on vintage gloves,

Works by Ellen Greene

Works by Ellen Greene

Pamela MacGregor’s handmade felt sculptures,

Pamela MacGregor felt sculpture.

Pamela MacGregor felt sculpture.

and Rose Camastro Pritchett’s sixfold narrative-abstraction composed of numerous collage and sewing materials.

Work by Rose Camastro Pritchett.

Work by Rose Camastro Pritchett.

Opening Reception Melissa Jay Craig engages with attendees.

Opening Reception Melissa Jay Craig engages with attendees.

The opening reception brought in admirers from Chicago and surrounding areas and, by all accounts, was a stimulating evening. Go to http://www.ziagallery.net/contact.html to sign up to be on the email list in oder to keep abreast of upcoming openings.

Join Exhibition Openings at ZIA Gallery

Join Exhibition Openings at ZIA Gallery

Of Materials, Fiber and Book Arts: Featuring Gallery artists: Melissa Jay Craig, Ted Preuss, Kathy Weaver, and introducing Paula Kovarik and Jacqueline Baerwald. Invited artists include Alice Berry, Ellen Greene, Pamela MacGregor and Rose Camastro Pritchett.   The exhibition runs March 19th – April 30, 2016.