All The President’s Children: Jaclyn Conley

Overview

In the series of paintings All The President’s Children, Jaclyn Conely references the archived photographs of First Ladies and Presidents sourced from Presidential Library collections in order to reimagine the American First Family as a symbol of the “American ideal”. In this series, rather than creating a likeness, she uses the materiality of paint to communicate an inability to recognize these photographic images of the idyllic American life in contrast to the ever-present coverage of national conflicts and internal divisions.

 

Jaclyn Conely was raised by an American mother in a border town in Canada, into a household where the Kennedy/Camelot narrative loomed as the aspirational ideal. Her mother defined herself by a uniquely “American patriotism” which always was discordant to the artist, despite her mother's efforts to wedge our family into this foreign mold. As a Canadian living in the United States, Jaclyn Conely found herself without the ability to influence the political decisions that impact her family’s life and bear daily witness to the unfulfilled promises of the American dream. This exploration of Presidential photography and her fractured and shifting painted surfaces reflect this internal conflict.

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