Jill McLennan presents new paintings and drawings in a show titled Rising Out of Ruins. McLennan’s interest in ruins originates with her teaching job at a local museum, her love of traveling and her observations of Oakland, the city where she lives, with its constant flux of construction and destruction. For many years her practice has emphasized documenting the abandoned or forgotten: vacant lots, train tracks, empty buildings and construction sites.
In Rising Out of Ruins, McLennan connects ideas about lost cultures with current conditions of development and displacement in American cities, especially Oakland. Ruins hold information about the scope of history and communicate knowledge left behind for us to encounter. Is it our obligation to leave ruins undisturbed, as the offerings for ancestors or gods that they were intended to be? Or Is it our responsibility to unearth these treasures, document and preserve them in museums for all to see and learn about? This new body of work explores how the past lives in the present and looks towards a future where human cultures connect and celebrate differences and creativity.
Jill McLennan is an artist and teacher who has lived in Oakland, CA for 20 years. She teaches at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, and for a variety of non-profit arts organizations in schools. During the pandemic, McLennan has been teaching online art classes to children and adults and making art instructional videos for the DeYoung Museum. She recently joined the Jingletown Art Studios Collective with a new work space and a regular schedule of open studios events.