©Jill Pope 2018

My most recent work addresses my highly conflicted emotions regarding the South and the complications inherent in reframing its identity. Having moved back to the South, after more than a decade away, my circumstances have changed and my sensitivity to racism is much more intense and instinctive. In many ways, this part of the United States has moved far from its ugly, racist past. Yet, not in all ways and certainly not completely.

 

As someone who has always struggled to identify with one place and a fixed belonging, I make drawings and paintings that make use of a range of maps and mapping symbols as well as personal and historical iconography in an effort to reconcile both personal and social issues by anchoring the memory of place in time. In these pieces, I am exploring the identity of the “new south” as it has moved to outgrow its past while, at the same time, never fully acknowledging it.

 

Maps, mapping symbols, confederate iconography, and the red Georgia clay are some of the elements featured in the abstract landscapes that vacillate between disillusionment and optimism. Among the layered and entangled mesh of personal and historical iconography and memories, I attempt to navigate out of the dark history that, especially now, wants so desperately to drag us back.

 

And sometimes, I am successful.