Jill Bedgood: Barnacles of Existence
Women & Their Work, March 7 – April 21
By Holly Cowart
What does it mean to be human? The existential question has warranted a great many opinions throughout time. It has been the subject of heated debates, made way for groundbreaking inventions and influenced profound works of art. For Jill Bedgood, it’s a question she has spent her life exploring and the inspiration behind her latest exhibition, “Barnacles of Existence,” on display at Women & Their Work beginning this month.
While based in San Antonio, Bedgood is a proactive member of Austin’s art scene. Since earning her MFA from the University of Texas, she’s been a visiting artist for both her alma mater and Austin Community College and worked closely with the City of Austin to enhance the community’s access to public art, from citywide installations to consultation. Now she returns to present a timeless and philosophical exhibition that showcases meticulously sculpted remnants of past, present and future.
Known for her mixed-media work, Bedgood uses plaster casts, paint, powdered graphite and gold leaf to encase a treasure trove of symbolic objects and hidden meanings, drawing the viewer in to scour the details. You might find elements of nature, such as seashells nestled against fine jewelry and other man-made creations. Meanwhile, other pieces take a more minimalist approach, molding one or two objects from a sea of white to form a connection all their own. The longer you look, the more abstract representations emerge, highlighting the duplexity that exists within human nature, the impact of nostalgia on materialism and the ubiquitous cycle of life.
What defines good and evil, success and failure? And why are certain things deemed valuable enough to transcend time? By asking the question, Bedgood invites the audience to search for their own answer.