Artist talk with Sarah Jamison hosted by Kohl Gallery

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

On Monday Sept. 28, the Kohl Gallery hosted a virtual webinar featuring the work of Washington D.C.-based artist Sarah Jamison. 

According to Jamison’s website she, “received her BFA in 2010 from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C.”

In 2017, her artwork was featured on the Smithsonian’s Folklife website as part of their 50th Anniversary of the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. In 2018, she was awarded Best Visual Artist by the Washington City Paper, according to her website.

Jamison explores the human condition through the contemporary lens of digital life not just in her illustrations but through her process as well. 

According to her website Jamison’s inspiration derives from “the emotion and conflict that underlies the mortal experience, and how it is expressed and interpreted through digital media.” 

“Her artwork could not be more relevant in our current screen-dominated existence in the age of COVID-19,” Kohl Gallery Director and Curator Tara Gladden said.

“Using colored pencil, marker, gouache, ink, and paint pens, Sarah creates drawings that are brimming with exuberant color and movement while equally sterile and contained,” the Kohl Gallery page on the WC website said.

Jamison presented eight pieces from her current series, “The Genesis of the Internet.”

“It’s about maintaining the integrity of the artwork throughout,” Jamison said.

Using colored pencils and gouache paint, Jamison presents an image of a maze with a human skull drawn onto it. It is drawn in a way where one part of the maze is behind the skull and another is on top of the skull. The piece is entitled “Cerebration.”

The placement of the images portray depth which causes its viewer to ponder the relation of the human psyche. 

Jamison’s works uses familiar objects framed in a new light which makes the work easily accessible to her audience.

Jamison said she is “constantly publishing content to allow my viewers to critique.”

In 2016, Jamison published a series titled “Ubiquitous” in which all the images were drawn to the scale-size of the iPhone 6s screen. 

Her drawings focus on meme culture to, as Jamison said,  “draw an ode to the experience of scrolling.”

Memes are widely used on the internet to react to posts. Memes present themselves in a variety of different mediums from photos of real people to drawings such as the ‘forever alone’ face that pioneered the genesis of the meme. 

Jamison focuses her artwork on both mediums in a drawing she called “Fake Love,” featuring the “forever alone” meme and a drawing of a screencap of Drake from his “Hotline Bling” music video.

One of the images featured was a drawing of President Donald Trump, who at the time of the drawing’s conception was a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, holding a Pokémon ball in his hand with a Pikachu sitting on his head. 

“Weaving together Internet aesthetics and cultural artifacts and drawing from sourced imagery, each piece represents the dread, beauty and anxiety of existence in a hyper-connected and ever-evolving world where technology and mankind are increasingly entwined,” Jamison’s website said.

To learn more about Jamison and her work you can visit her personal website http://www.sarah-jamison.com

Featured Photo caption: Sarah Jamison’s work titled “Deep Space.” Photo Courtesy of the WC Website. 

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