Lack of Pleasure: A Conversation with Jillian Evelyn
"I think a lot of people related to the New York Times calling out this feeling as 'languishing'," Jillian Evelyn said of her new solo show, Lack of Pleasure, opening at Hashimoto Contemporary on September 18th. "That feeling is all I could conjure when I sat down to draw, its all I could see in a lot of the people around me...I was looking for ways to dissociate. This body of work is just that, it’s being stuck & the moments we try to push past it." As she was set to open her inaugural solo show with the gallery, we asked Evelyn a few questions about her sharpened work, determined characters and the opening of the world.
Evan Pricco: When did this body of work start for you? When did it start to come into focus?
Jillian Evelyn: I started the work at the end of March, but I don’t feel like it really started to come in to focus until I was a little half way through making the work. It usually goes like that, I’ll make a handful of pieces and have to step back to see the thread that links all the pieces.
Let's talk about the title, Lack of Pleasure. The characters in the works look exhausted, but also with a sense of determination.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that this last year has been difficult, I think a lot of people related to the New York Times calling out this feeling as “languishing”. That feeling is all I could conjure when I sat down to draw, its all I could see in a lot of the people around me. If I wasn’t stewing in depressive thoughts, I was looking for ways to dissociate through drinking, bingeing tv shows, or looking to authors like Murakami to take me away since travel wasn’t a real option. This body of work is that, it’s being stuck & the moments we try to push past it.
You seem to have sharpened your characters' features a bit, like they seem more literal than in the past. How are you seeing your own development these days?
I think it's a natural progression, the figures are maturing as I age.
I know you are acute at looking at historical influences, who are you looking at these days?
I still think Will Barnet has a strong influence. Before I started this body of work I created my own version of “woman reading” replacing the white cat with a black pug. Its the only piece I’ve kept for myself and still treasure it.
Can we talk about the color choices you use in the background of your works. How are you matching mood with color?
My color palette has definitely darkened in this show, more browns, blacks, and deep reds. The brighter color backgrounds in a few of the pieces was my way of keeping balance and a little hope.
Will you be out in NYC for the opening? How are you feeling about the sense that the world is aching to open but still on the precipice of disaster?
I am actually writing to you from NYC. I came a little early, I’ve been longing to get out of LA for a bit. It’s depressing because it's still so unknown and those refusing to get vaccinated are ruining it for the rest of us.
Lack of Pleasure will be on view at Hashimoto Contemporary in NY from September 18—October 9, 2021.