Gearbox Gallery presents Creatures of Duality, an exhibit of paintings by member artist Jamie Treacy. In this series of works on panel and canvas, Treacy approaches the theme of “duality” by painting in contrasting styles and by creating tension between opposing forces. In this collection, Treacy juxtaposes painting from life with painting from the imagination. Mining the imagery and sensations of being in the ocean (Treacy is an avid swimmer and a novice scuba diver), the works are inhabited with creatures that resist clear identification. In Treacy’s words: “I’m part of a rich lineage of queer artists that use their hands and minds to forge a space for strange dualities: kindness and treachery; opulence and desiccation; kinship and solitude.”
Jamie Treacy is an Oakland, California-based visual artist, masters swimmer and art educator. He received his BFA at the University of Michigan and his MFA from CCA (both degrees in painting and drawing). Jamie’s artwork is imbued with themes of eco-justice, speculative fiction and exo-biology. He creates bodies of work in painting, drawing and mixed media that draw imagery from underwater worlds, and his internal landscape.
Jamie is the recipient of the William H. Lewis Watercolor award and an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation fellowship. Jamie’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan. He currently works for the Oakland Unified School District as an arts instructional coach and is a managing artist with Gearbox Gallery in Oakland.
I create paintings to envision the next world. The landscapes and life of the next world. A reason to stick around and form the next world. Mining the sensations of swimming in the ocean, I convey a sense of relaxed alertness. I use painting as a tool to help me to reconcile feeling too strange for this world, yet still loving my existence. I’m part of a rich lineage of queer artists that use their hands and minds to forge a space for strange dualities: kindness and treachery; opulence and desiccation; kinship and solitude.
My current paintings travel between the realms of abstraction and surrealism and are a mental buffer between my work in arts education. From that mental fortress, I paint to mull over the memory of being strange and the yearning to experience normality. In its essence, my paintings are an investigation of mark-making and color as a way to define my internal space. Often painting with a limited palette, I’m interested in creating a fervent conversation between opposing hues. Using a slurry of translucent acrylic and paper fiber layers, I create biological and mechanical forms that flicker in and out of focus. I use scraping and sanding as key strategies to knock back that which is solid, and imperfectly reveal the interior of the painting.
In compositions that begin as a still-life of plant parts, I render, then transform intimate botanical moments in my backyard’s ecosystem into creatures that inhabit my invented spaces. My paintings depict self-contained biomes, but also contribute to a life-long world-building project. As if the paintings themselves were alive, I think of them as kin that converse, quarrel and require tending. I’m fascinated how a painting can exist as a static image, but upon examination also take the viewer through time as one peers into the layered and distinct brushstrokes.
I believe we create fantasy worlds as a way to hold our own realities at arm’s length; to get out of the thick of being the main character and soar above life with the clarity of a narrator. My painting practice allows me to hover above — just a bit.
-Jamie Treacy, 2024