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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Interpretation: Hoan Bridge, 2012”Interpretation: Hoan Bridge, 2012

    cinephile series

Jessica Z Schafer

  • Art
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artist bio

An award-winning photographer, my work has been juried into many regional exhibitions. My current project, cinephile was recently presented as one of four Featured Member Exhibitions in 2013 at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My photography has been highlighted with a solo exhibition at Leenhouts Gallery and has been included in invitational group shows throughout the Midwest. cinephile was featured at Cathedral Square, one of the Showcase Venues for the international competition ArtPrize 2013, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Additionally an arts writer, I review exhibitions as a contributor to Art City at JSOnline and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As an independent curator, I organized Aqua Bleu––an exhibition depicting the influence of Lake Michigan on regional artists––at Racine Arts Council artspace. In 2012, I co-curated "What She Said: Wisconsin Photography Now" with William Zuback at EFFJAY PROJEKTS (now Frank Juarez Gallery) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

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artist statement

cinephile series

This series of diptychs recalls the frames of a black & white filmstrip. Here, a discrete sequence of photographs stops time. Inspired by a lifelong interest in the careful design of classic films, these images distill a more complex narrative into a few stills. Contrasting with the constant stream of video that depicts our modern life, each limited set defines a scene and an atmosphere. The arrangements mimic how we choose and create memories, more so than they document reality.

Tranquility Soliloquy Series

Light paints these past, present and future daydreams of singular moments. Each is captured as quickly as the scene threatens to flee. Combined, they make up a day: a morning walk, an evening commute, a breath taken to halt an urban blur. Intertwined, they tell the story of a common life, extraordinary only for an individual perspective. These images frame fractured seconds into adjusted and perfected memories, deleting the mundane to remember the sublime.


“Earning second place is a piece by Jessica Zalewski of Milwaukee, titled 'Drifting,' which depicts a nearly surreal seascape - a choppy body of water disappearing into the mist. 'People are drawn to this,' [Candace] Hoffmann said. 'It's magical, lyrical and mystic-looking. It has a lot going for it.' ”
Bill Robbins, Kenosha News
“...The artist’s sense of place stars in “Cinephile.” Stripped-down and wearing no fussy makeup or flashy distractions, her places are bare film noir, rather than big screen Cinerama. Her world is mystery, romance and quite possibly murder. You’d think that images so tightly composed would leave little to imagine, but like a great night at the movies (perhaps a flick with rain-slicked streets and Parisian sewers), we are encouraged to fill in the action lurking among the shafts of vertical and horizontal elements. The images are unsettling in that, just as in life, nothing is really settled and tied up neatly when the end credits roll. Schafer is a genuine talent in a world swamped with image overload. Involve yourself.”
Judith Ann Moriarty, The Shepherd Express