Erika Jaeggli was mid-explanation of her first solo exhibition, FOMO, when she had to check on her ringing cell phone:
“FOMO is the fear of missing out and it is this idea of being on the outside looking in,” she said as she glanced at and silenced the phone. “Whether you apply that to Facebook or the Greeks, it is built into our DNA as human beings to always want what we can’t have or feel alone or feel separate from people.”
Jaeggli’s exhibition, which opens at WAAS Gallery in Dallas Saturday, May 9, and will display until June 13, explores the darker side of our interdependence with technology. Although she primarily works as a painter, for this body of work she chose to draw in charcoal on paper.
Video by Daisy Avalos
“It is a really old technique paired with a really modern sentiment,” Jaeggli said.
She said she applied layer upon layer of charcoal to create deep shades of black leaving the viewer’s eye to be drawn to the figures depicted. Jaeggli played with the perspective and the picture plane, which created a dreamlike quality to the exhibit. However she said, “it is not supposed to represent a dream, it is a contemplation on the act of viewing itself.”
The use perspective puts the action in the background and the primary figure in the foreground creating a middle plane between the action and the viewer. It is in this middle plane that the primary figures find themselves. They are on the outside looking in, as the viewer looks on and is left to decipher what it is that the figure is observing.
"They're not part of our world and they are not part of that world," she said.
The role of women in society is a major theme for Jaeggli’s work. The larger pieces in the collection depict women either turning their back to the viewer or looking past the viewer with eyes shaded by sunglasses. She described this as “women looking in on the world.”
Jaeggli said that everyone that has viewed the collection so far has expressed some form of connection with the women in the drawings. Many men said that they see the woman as their wife, mother or sister while many women ask what the figure is looking for beyond the scope of the drawing.
It was Jaeggli’s ability to immediately engage viewers through her art that drew Brandy Michele Adams, gallery owner and curator of We Are All Stars (WAAS) Gallery, to this particular body of work.
The two been discussing her exhibiting for quite a while when the space for the May show opened up.
“Her and I have been waiting for time to shine together,” Adams said. “Even when you have some other hardest of chapters to live in your life, you can still find purpose even when you have the darkest of dark stories. I think that is a lot of what Erika’s work shows.”
When selecting pieces of work for the gallery, Adams looks for work that will expand the definition of fine art in Dallas. She said she is elated to be presenting the first solo exhibition by Jaeggli, who she considers to be a unique female voice in the Dallas fine art scene.
“We want to go beyond what is seen,” she said. “We would like to show the unknown or what new possibilities this world has brought us.”
Jaeggli prefers to leave the meaning of the show open to interpretation, but hopes that the exhibition will encourage viewers to think deeply about what it means to connect with people, and in turn, how they connect with art.
“What’s the point of art if not to engage someone?” she asked.
Plan your life:
"FOMO" exhibition: May 9 until June 13, WAAS Gallery, 2722 Logan Street, Dallas