The iconic image of a Mary and Baby Jesus is reinterpreted with a modern photographic take. Chicago artist Jill Frank presents new photographs that portray unique perspectives of significant moments in history alongside works from an earlier series, Psychodrama, that share awkward and painful personal memories that are performed for the camera. The rich color photographs are hung in simple frames to evoke the feel of a familys living room and are on view at the next UBS 12 x 12 New Artists/New Work exhibit that opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art
(MCA), Chicago, during First Fridays on August 7 and runs through August 30, 2009.
Franks new work, Mother and Child #1 shows a mother figure holding an infant in front of a foreboding shed that also is symbolic of Christs manger scene. The presence of the hooded grim-reaper-like mother questions the social nature of mother-child relationships and juxtaposes the historical context of biblical tradition. For this series, Frank collaborated with different groups of people to interpret and recreate scenes from the Bible and religious artworks, including Michelangelos fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, in which God is now depicted as an African American.
While the new works examine large events in history, the Psychodrama series investigates more personal and private histories. The series recreates traumatic and embarrassing events and memories of the photo subjects, including a boy with a bloody nose; a woman suffering a near electrocution; and a young man reliving a childhood incident in which he was nearly drowned.
Frank received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an adjunct faculty member in numerous Chicago schools. Frank leads a gallery talk about her exhibition Tuesday, August 25, at 6:30 pm.