As a print and mixed-media artist, I have been obsessed with skyscrapers for some time. I use the form of these buildings in a surprising way: to present and explore ideas of weakness and impermanence. These large, familiar buildings seem almost invincible and are living symbols of our society’s grand achievements. But on several levels, they reveal the fragile control humanity has over its existence. I am intrigued by the frailty and insignificance of the skyscraper in relation to the larger forces of nature. Through my titles, I also draw a connection between these buildings and the impermanence of things by referring to the ”lost“ civilizations of the Aztecs, Maya and Inca. Some works allude to a detached and alienated world – the buildings are viewed furtively from under highways or road ramps. Sometimes, the buildings seem to twist and stagger drunkenly in the wind. In other works, the ”authority“ of the skyscrapers is contradicted by setting them on fire. Through whatever aspect I may emphasize, I want the viewer to consider the unseen frailty of these buildings, and, by extension, our society. Perhaps then we can begin to reconsider some of the directions our profit-driven society has taken.
Jeff Stellick was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada. He showed an interest in art from an early age and this interest continued through public and high school. He completed his BFA studies at the University of Regina in 1974 and his MFA at Concordia University in Montreal in 1988. Between graduating at Regina and Concordia he worked a variety of jobs ranging from art teacher on a native reservation school, cook’s helper in a mental health facility, draftsman for a gas pipeline company, graphics technician at the Chemistry Department of the University of Alberta, printmaking technician at the Alberta College of Art, political cartoonist and pizza delivery boy. He began teaching at the Ottawa School of Art in 1985 and became director in 1988. Since then he has had no time off for good behaviour. He has exhibited his work widely in Canada, the US and Europe and is represented in several major collections including the City of Ottawa, the Canada Council Art Bank and la Collection de Lotto Quebec. In his work he is preoccupied with the impact of uncertainty and sudden change in societies and civilizations. He has done extensive research into the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and is now trying to figure out what to do with all this obscure and arcane knowledge. He is married with two grown children. To keep in shape he still tries to play soccer in a recreational league and follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Arsenal FC much too closely. He also plays the bagpipes.