Jeff Vreeland

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Artist Statement

My practice aims to probe the cultural forces that — despite their collective understanding — functioned to shape my sense of identity, imagination, and cognizance during the formative years of my life.

Through repeated layering and tearing down of symbols, icons, and figures, I aim to create a visual representation of memory. This work concerns how I remember episodes from my youth, or more precisely, how I feel about them. My interest is in developing new ways to see and understand memory.

When I think of memories, it is not only that they appear before me, but there is a feeling that they radiate. A memory fans out, leads to and binds to other memories. There is permanence in what they are for me. Whether banal or exceptional, I am interested in creating a space for them to exist, a permanence. I am attempting to rescue memories from loss.

Having been brought up in a Catholic home, the spectacle of ritual, iconography, and theatrics maintains a dark, residual impression. Faith has been a ubiquitous aspect of my past —with its notions of guilt, grace and redemption — touching the core of my past and present.

It is believed that the Catholic Church has consecrated approximately 10,000 saints, however a precise number cannot be verified. From barbers, to athletes to princesses, it is apparent that saints are canonized not simply for otherworldly pursuits — but also for their contributions to the systems and forces that organize everyday life. These saints are a starting point, an association and restriction for searching my memories. The images collected under these banners form the material and content of my practice.