Jill Parisi

 I am interested in the beauty of the natural world. My works celebrate the plant and animal kingdom’s wide palette and intricate patterns. The process for creating the flora and fauna existing in my imaginary ecosystems can be likened to jazz- I’m riffing on nature, taking colors, structures, etc. from a variety of species and places, and reconfiguring them in a new way. My work draws upon botanical and zoological texts, and direct observation in the wild and of specimens. Materials such as translucent tissue weight papers and glass inform these fantastic and ephemeral species. The resulting drawings, prints and sculptures also act as starting points for my unique designs for fabrication in various other durable materials.


 Introduced into new gallery or public settings, many of these works take on a slightly different form in response to a new habitat. Some pieces are interactive as they respond to the flow of air within an exhibition space and are stirred into motion by the proximity of the viewer. The effect makes the pieces seem very much alive in their movement and lends to a playful atmosphere in the exhibition space, while at the same time reminding us of our connection to and effect upon our surroundings. Other works are burned meticulously to create concave and convex shaping, casting a play of shadows and net-like arrangements that allow hidden components beneath them to show through, treats for the viewer to discover. A great deal of time and patience is put into each aspect of the work: the use of handmade papers, hand-cutting, hand-coloring, and carefully feathering components by hand to exaggerate the edge all are meditative acts that honor traditional handcrafting.


Along with four-color lithographs, woodcuts, hand-colored etchings, and suminagashi prints, my newest works include digitally printed components generated from my traditionally made prints and drawings, and then altered to provide an even wider array of colors, shapes and sizes. This has added to my range of resources to create increasingly complex arrangements of pinwheel- like pinned botanical sculptures.


In 2012 my design for a large public work, Coom Barrooom, was installed at Rockaway Beach in Queens. This work was commissioned by NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit program. The piece was inspired by a marine anomaly near the station and reflects my desire to bring light and beauty to the neighborhood. More recently I created four designs for fabrication in ceramic, metal, glass, and mosaic, for three educational facilities in Washington, DC. These finalist proposals are currently under review and on a fast track for installation this summer. It was exciting to design for the educational environment; I enjoy facilitating new ideas and a sense of joy and beauty, and cultivating a nurturing setting where discoveries are made. The ability to reach a wide and diverse audience inspires my enthusiasm for art in the public realm.


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