The inevitability of death and change through the work of Jessamy McManus

Jessamy McManus is an aspiring curator, painter, and a Master of Fine Arts candidate studying painting at Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, Georgia, where she also earned her Bachelor of Art in 2D Studio.

Inspired by the idea within art history of 17th century vanitas – still life paintings symbolizing the inevitability of death and change – I consider my paintings to be still lifes which are not still, and portraits which are not of people. Instead, through a portrait of what I call “pseudo-specimens” in scenes of struggle, I paint my version of a contemporary vanita. Influenced by living in suburbia, I’m fascinated in the split between the “born” vs. the “made” materials we find in nature and the human urge to manipulate and manicure the natural. Through the use of plastics such as resin, vinyl, and acrylic paint, I use immortal materials to depict nature in these modern-day vanitas.

The goal of this work is to explore what it means to paint nature in our contemporary time.

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