Jill Shoffiett

Spaces talk.

I’m interested in the things people leave behind, the things they’ve created, hoarded, and collected. My paintings are about identity and memory, about a home of the soul that is no longer there, and cannot be returned to, but that exists in the space of remembering and re-telling.

I draw from memories of childhood spent in my native Mississippi, while envisioning a dystopian and darkly comic future. I have lived in New York for years, but the cultural and actual landscapes of Mississippi have helped to form the essential vocabulary of my work. I spin tales about imaginary people and draw their settings. We glimpse their internal struggles through their stuff, their land. The spaces—vast landscapes, intimate interiors, are metaphors for inner battles and existential narratives.

The people are absent, but they have clearly been there, making things, coping, going about their sometimes dubious affairs. There is a perpetual tension added by distant fires, images of explosions, or more simple, quiet chaos. Things are unraveling, falling apart. But structures are also being built, holes dug, signs put up. Some of the inhabitants may be isolationists, hoarders, inventors, and some are just in survival mode. The works are ambiguous; I frequently leave the telling of the tale to the viewer.

In our detritus is the evidence of the human struggle to create meaning.