Jackie Cassidy, b. 1986, is a fine artist living and working in South Jersey and Philadelphia. A mostly self-taught painter and maker, she graduated in 2010 with her M.A. in Writing from Rowan University, polishing her visual art craft at institutions like the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Storytelling factors heavily into her practice. Cassidy’s character- and narrative-driven work reinvestigates with playful vigor the intersection between surreal dreamscapes and her own real-world experiences and memories.
With the mindset of a writer, her eclectic subject matter—everything from darkly humorous miniatures to largescale labyrinthine abstracts―always informs her style and execution as she explores the magic of her medium. As such, her work contains substantial variations in style.
She has exhibited work at numerous galleries and institutions, including: The Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Plastic Club, PhilaMOCA, SpaceCamp Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland, FE Gallery in Sacramento, California, the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, and the Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, to name a few. In 2017, she was inducted into Creative Capital’s Professional Development Artist Fellows program.
Making work is definitely a journey of playful discovery! I keep my experience fresh through the unexpected and almost never engage in preliminary drawing or planning. Not every piece comes out crisp and clean, but the ones that do echo my vision bring me a taste of the sublime—and hopefully delight and intrigue the viewer.
I go hiking and explore my environment for inspiration, then come back to the studio to let my stream-of-conscious thoughts shape the story I tell. Brushstrokes made during the heat of creation are instinctual. I really believe that every painting is an opportunity for me to explore hidden territory, techniques, and stories.
My paintings and mixed media works infused with spiritual and natural-world imagery act as a barometer for my own desire to understand the very thing we as humans evolved in but seem so distanced from. The act of mark- and image-making is my way of externalizing impulses toward the forest of my dreams, toward animals I may or may not have ever even seen, toward microscopic systems, toward figures I want to know more deeply. The act itself is a soothing metaphor of forgiveness for the experience of how I actually relate to the natural world in this moment: behind many “screens” but never fully immersed in nature, even as I seek it out.