Jessica Sladek

Not Just Another Pretty Face 2019

Program Overview


Jessica Sladek

Wildness is rooted in a desire to represent our environment without idealization. The reliance on idyllic, picturesque portrayals of nature throughout the Western landscape tradition has distanced viewers from the experience of natural environments, and created prescriptive views of where to look and what to value.

In my photographs, I employ large scale and detail to invite a prolonged observation and evoke a sense of physical immersion, as I believe we must feel implicated in nature to value it beyond that of scenic commodity. An ecological understanding of nature as a set of competing systems with symbiotic interconnections, dictates that no single component in my photographs outweigh another. All elements contend for our attention, as all are of equal value. There is no hierarchy.

The moss and photograph assemblages aim to reduce our distance from nature even further, by integrating live mosses atop photographs that depict them in their found environments. Viewers are invited to physically engage with these pieces by smell and touch, while curators are asked to care for the mosses to keep them alive. As the growth of the moss slowly degrade the photographs, these experiments take on a life of their own, and a wildness ensues. For potential commissions, I would be very interested in making a photograph of a specific environment or area of wilderness that has personal meaning to the patron. In addition, I would be interested in creating a moss/photograph assemblage that could become a part of a patron’s domestic interior or exterior.

For this work, a patron would need to be interested in a piece of work that is ephemeral, and degradative over time (the photographs do break down and change), and up for the participatory acts of these works which require watering to stay active.






For more information or to commission a unique work of art through Not Just Another Pretty Face, contact Maria Nelson at or 773.324.5520 x1014.