Black Experimentalism Exhibit
Phantom Gallery Chicago, 440 E. 47th Street, Room 205- July 15th - August 13th, 2016.
Jelisa Davis’s Artist Statement
My work captures social phobic thoughts, emotions and behaviors prior to or during moments of social interaction. My work expresses how mundane activities that require human encounters can be daunting tasks that produce extreme anxiety created by irrational fears of receiving negative
judgement by others. I’m interested in depicting particular social insecurities such as fear of social rejection, public humiliation and being closely observed and negatively evaluated on performance.
My work often illustrates these anxieties as nightmarish landscapes from first
person perspective or it captures particular moments that provoke uncomfortable responses from my audience. My work is visually characterized by crowded compositions and dull and intense color schemes to illustrate the overwhelming experiences of social anxiety and to intensify delusional perceptions.
She discovered her interest in art through the adoration of calligraphy and cursive writing. She enjoyed the curvilinear design and flow of the letters and how they were cleverly connected to one another. She would often trace her mother’s beautiful cursive writing and eventually accompanied the words with small doodles of imaginative imageries.
In 2016, Davis graduated from Chicago State University where she studied studio art and developed her enthusiasm for surrealism. She was often influenced by the styles, philosophies and concepts of classic surrealists, especially René Magritte. She appreciated the abandonment of reality and academic teachings and was intrigued by the acknowledgement and emphasis and of the unconscious world.
Sigmund Freud’s theories of dreams and the uncanny. Davis’s philosophy of painting derived from the famous Picasso quote which she discovered her second year of college- “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary”. This led her to focus on psychological themes relating to social phobia due to her own experiences of social anxiety disorder.