Imagine looking through a complete stranger’s family photo album. You’ve never seen these people, yet you are peering into their intimate memories. The warm, lively scenes play upon your sense of nostalgic longing. There are many photos marking occasions, like birthdays or New Year’s Eve. In these photos people are connecting, together in one room, sharing the feeling of togetherness that has been tragically elusive on a global scale since Spring 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created pervasive feelings of loneliness and isolation for so many people. Gathering in groups has been effectively prohibited for the vast majority of the year. People have been unable to share their homes with friends and family for months on end. In the absence of such connection, homes can transform into isolating, empty places. In this series of paintings based off of found photos of domestic gatherings, the artist responds to this new loss of intimate group experiences by reaching through the images in an attempt to receive, internalize, and present the joyful feelings of connectedness held within them.
From different sources and eras, the found photos that directly inspired these paintings feature such events as a father tossing his baby in the air, someone’s funny aunt telling a story, a celebratory gathering of elders, and a cozy game of Jenga at home. They take place in living rooms, where people normally gather. The figures sit upon backgrounds of off-white walls, which in the photos appear as various soft colors from different kinds of lighting. Personal touches like pictures on the walls, patterned upholstery, and houseplants reflect the individuality of each home and its inhabitants.
These paintings serve as lovingly crafted odes to the importance of belonging and group dynamics in human life. They are representations of real, palpable moments in time. They radiate humanity and familiarity. They are also raw, candid, and tense moments, encompassing the human group experience with all its charms and challenges. The imperfections in these moments allow them to feel authentic, genuine, and appropriately complex. It is the artist’s intention that these paintings serve to transmit to the viewer the sorely needed feeling of togetherness, as well as giving the viewer the chance to reflect upon the true value of moments like these.
- Lisa Jaech
About The Artist
Lisa Jaech (AKA Lisa Jake) is a Seattle-based animator, cartoonist, illustrator & painter. She specializes in documentary animation and experimental animation, employing both traditional hand-drawn and stop-motion paper cut-out techniques. She is driven by her fathomless curiosity for the infinite variety of human experiences as well as her innate desire to connect people through laughter at every opportunity.