Artist of the Week

Jaclyn Mednicov

January 30, 2024

Jaclyn Mednicov is a Chicago-based artist working in painting, sculpture, and installation. Mednicov has her BFA from University of Kansas, MA in Studio Arts from Eastern Illinois University, and MFA in Painting and Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale Foundation, SEA Foundation, and European Ceramic Workcentre. Solo and Two Person exhibitions include: Goldfinch (upcoming), Paris London Hong Kong (Chicago, IL), The SEA Foundation (Tilburg, NL), and Tarble Arts Center (Charleston, IL). Select group exhibitions include: Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), Northern Illinois University Art Museum (Dekalb, IL), DOCUMENT (Chicago, IL), ADDS DONNA (Chicago, IL), Morlan Gallery (Lexington, KY), and The Franklin (Chicago, IL). Mednicov’s work has been featured in New American Paintings, Sheridan Road, Printmaking Today, and LUXE Interiors publications. She is currently a Lecturer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Painting and Drawing Department.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am an artist and educator originally from the Chicago area. While I initially enrolled in the University of Kansas for social work, my interests led me to make a swift transition to visual art. Seeking a change from the Midwest, after graduating I spent two years in Los Angeles before settling in New York, where I resided for eight years. During my time in New York, I briefly worked as an art preparator and then shifted to a career as a makeup artist, all while maintaining my art practice in a Brooklyn-based studio. Eventually, my journey led me to Chicago, where I pursued an MFA degree. In my work as an artist, I explore various mediums, with a focus on painting and, more recently, ceramics. Outside of my studio and teaching commitments, I love to go on walks and cook!

Garden (light), 2022, acrylic on panel, 22 x 21 inches


What catalyzed your interest in art? 

I discovered a love for art in my late teens, finding it to be a source of comfort and a valuable outlet from being an adolescent. Initially, before I began courses at my university, I wasn’t exposed to the possibility of being a professional artist. Following a drawing class I attended at Columbia College in Chicago during the summer before my second year, I opted to switch my major to art.

How do you describe your practice?

I work across various mediums as an artist. Experimentation is at the forefront of my practice, and I often get lost in the intuitive making process. Following my father’s passing in 2013, life assumed a new perspective, heightening my awareness of its unpredictability and fragility. This shift led me to embrace nature, recognizing its transformative power. Nature has evolved into a consistent source for my art, serving as raw material that I imprint onto surfaces like clay, paper, and paint.


Oisterwijk (earth), 2023, glazed ceramic, 18 x 4 inches


What are the overarching motifs in the art you make?

Currently, I’m interested in anything related to the natural environment—plants, weeds, flora, or the interplay of light within this context.

What/who influences your current work?

Time, transformation, beauty, decay, mortality, loss, memory, temporality, transience, light.


Meadow (twilight), 2023, acrylic on panel, 26 x 19 inches


What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work?

This is a difficult question to address because for the most part, the viewer will walk away with their own subjective interpretation. Each viewer brings with them a unique narrative shaped by their individual life experiences. Despite this, I hope the work will provide viewers with something to ponder, evoking a meaningful and lasting impact on them.

Describe your current studio or workspace.  

My studio often changes as I frequently switch between different mediums. In the center of the room, I have a surface dedicated to creating prints and making molds. While working on projects at the table, space becomes limited, sometimes leading to temporary placements on the floor or atop flat files near my desk and storage. Hanging on the walls are recent and ongoing pieces, accompanied by a stack of older paintings to the side. In the corner are buckets filled with dried of flowers I’ve saved. Currently, the space is a bit chaotic due to my recent exhibition, [Beneath the Green at Goldfinch Gallery], where I simultaneously created and prepared works for the show.


Mednicov’s studio


What is one of the bigger challenges you struggle with as an artist? How do you cope and how does it inform your practice?

I often find myself immersed in various creative ideas across different mediums, making it both a strength and a challenge. There are instances when I start a process, like making monoprints with plants, only to be enticed by a new idea midway, leading to a segue. While having an abundance of ideas is exciting, managing the physical space for my practice has become a challenge, as my overflowing studio prompts the need to consider downsizing or relocating.

What excites you about being an artist?

Creating something entirely new feels like a spiritual journey, which is magical to me.


Forest, 2023, ceramic and porcelain, dimensions variable


Any recent, upcoming, or current projects you are working on?

Last summer, I began a project titled “Vestiges of Time” during an art residency at the European Ceramic Workcentre in the Netherlands. My objective was to memorialize the local natural environment and use this knowledge for subsequent projects involving native plants in Chicago.

During my time in The Netherlands, I collected plants and experimented by pressing the materials onto clay surfaces, enhancing the connection between ceramics and my painting practice through the application of glazes. Given its direct sourcing from the earth, clay emerged as a fitting material for my exploration. Working with ceramics proved both challenging and transformative, and I am excited to further develop the project in Chicago.

A selection of the work is currently on view through February 24th, 2024, in a solo exhibition titled Beneath the Green at Goldfinch Gallery in Chicago.


Installation view from Beneath the Green, Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago


Who are some of your favorite artists?

Here are some that quickly come to mind, although there are countless others worth mentioning: Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, Anselm Kiefer, Pipilotti Rist, Jack Whitten, Jennifer Packer, Mary Heilmann, Mark Bradford, Keltie Ferris, Suzanne Jackson, Rudolf Stingel

What do you collect?

I don’t typically buy flowers, but if I encounter them or receive them as a gift, I hold onto them even as they wither, deteriorate, develop mold, and dry up.


Interview conducted and edited by Natalie Toth. All images courtesy of the artist.