Says Jillian: These images work to explore the notion of experience as touch and emotional and physical endurance performed through female bodies. Witnessed events, staged performances and instinct serve as a way to seek new intimacies between me and my subjects. Texture and surface become an important role in their ability to relay information about the conditions of the individuals, whether it be a physical or psychological state. Physical sensations sourced from past experiences show up in subtle details, revealing exposed skin, pressed bodies and the simple observation of physical form in relation to others in space. Inherited beliefs of misogyny and expectations concerning gender serve as an entry point to my subjects.
The images are made without a single formula, instead are created through a response to what I observe. This allows me to become a part of the performances rather than just an observer. My main purpose in creating these photos was to respond to political events and movements around me, but bringing them into the context of my home; to find my own voice and use photography as a way to communicate beliefs, and personal familial history amongst my mother and two younger sisters. These interventions began as a way to spend time together, even if it was painful or unpleasant at times. I wanted there to be a meditation on our interactions with one another, on touch and gesture; to give these benign details agency.
Our beliefs are woven into the gestures we perform, inherited from one another, that exist in the quotidian. Simple interactions we repeat and observe, performed by our mothers, grandmothers, and sisters. I am determined to show a closeness between the women, as well as the endurance of one’s gaze. I use personal experience and my own background as a female from a close-knit family of women to address current and withstanding issues regarding gender and beliefs that often can be difficult to discuss, while photography becomes my mediator.
Jillian Freyer (b. 1989) holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, where she was awarded the John Ferguson Weir Award. She has exhibited her photographs internationally including the Aperture Foundation, LTD Los Angeles, and David Zwirner Gallery. Her work has been featured in various publications, such as T Magazine, GUP Magazine, Aint Bad Magazine and has been commissioned by The NewYorker, The New York Times and GQ Magazine. Jillian’s work employs still and moving images to explore the notion of experience as touch and emotional and physical endurance performed through female bodies. Jillian is represented by ACN Studio and works across New England and New York.