Jacqueline Surdell (b. 1993) was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., where she currently lives and works.
Now the third largest city in the US, Chicago’s history of industry, labor, and midwest grit plays a significant role in Surdell’s work. Surdell’s Polish grandfather worked in the steel mills in Hegewisch (a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago) while her Dutch grandmother is a landscape painter. The dichotomy established between manual labor and conceptual labor influenced Surdell at an early age. Listening to stories of the mills — the operation of massive blast furnaces, chaotic melting pits, and subsequent injuries, was complimented with memories of frolicking in wildflower fields while her grandmother painted the colorful landscape. The combination resulted in an early-developed arts view where life and work, body and labor, industry and craft, and the high-brow traditions of plein-air landscape painting, merged. Those close familial memories influence Surdell’s complex terrain between art-making, body, sanctuary and spirit.