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Jamie Treacy

March 21 to April 20, 2024

Artist’s reception: Saturday, March 23rd, 1-4pm

First Friday: April 5th, 5-8pm

Artists' Talk: Saturday, April 13th, 2pm (with Inner Room featured artist Gillian Garro)

Gearbox Gallery presents Creatures of Duality, a solo exhibit of paintings by member artist Jamie Treacy. In this series on panels and canvas, Treacy approaches the theme of “duality” with contrasting styles and tension between opposing forces. 

Treacy draws from his imagination and paints through visuals found in his real life. A lifelong swimmer and new diver, the water represents another completely inhabitable world to create in. The free and open sensations of being in the open water let our imaginations wander—for better or for worse—and Treacy explores this uneasiness often experienced by swimmers in the open ocean, acknowledging its presence and giving it personality. 

On exploring new themes and staying curious, Treacy says, “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.” He continues by saying, “Creatures of Duality has an elemental focus and asks the viewer about the dualities that exist within them.”

Treacy’s last show, Akin, was done in partnership with his great aunt, artist Joan Tanner. Throughout the paintings and sculptures on display, there are noticeable moments of character—from the imminent movement amidst the awkwardness of her sculptural interpretations to the bold, aquatic-otherworld tensions of his acrylics on canvas. A consistent through line of Jamie’s storytelling is the complex and dense interwoven internal world, also present in Creatures of Duality. 

Photo by Jonathan Botkin

About Jamie Treacy

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.

The Tension of Trying to Appear Calm, acrylic on canvas, 21" x 16" | 2024

Artist Statement

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. 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. 

I see my studio practice as a fortress. From that mental fortress, I paint to mull over the memory of  being strange and my curiosity about normality. In their essence, my paintings are an investigation of mark-making and color as a way to illuminate 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 beings that resist easy classification. In some works, I use scraping and sanding as key strategies to damage that which is solid, and imperfectly reveal the interior of the painting. In other compositions, I begin by painting from a still-life of plant parts, which I transform into creatures that inhabit my invented spaces.  I seek to create spaces that are self-contained biomes, but also part of 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. 

We invent worlds and beings as a way to hold our own realities at arm’s length; to get out of the thickness of feeling and soar above life with the clarity of a narrator. My painting practice allows me to hover — just a bit.