Jessica Augier Triptich

Paintings by Jessica Augier, BFA Exhibition Title: "Elusive Encounters," April 19th-23rd , 2010 Slocumb Galleries, East Tennessee State Univeristy, Johnson City, TN; Senior Exhibition; Jessica Augier is a scholar from Fine and Performing Arts, under the Honors College at ETSU.



"If it was so, it might be; and if it were
so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. 
That’s logic." Lithograph '09, 6.25 x 10 in

Arthoughts Presents: Jessica Augier
Curiouser & Curiouser posted 01/28/2012

"Who are you?"This is the question that the Caterpillar asks Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. For the reader, as well as for Alice, the deeper meaning is left unanswered, calling into question issues of the existence of the Self and of identity. As described by Stephanie Lovett Stoffel, “it’s hard to talk about the sense of self, for the self lives invisibly and acts mysteriously”(Stoffel, 85).

Each of these works deals with my exploration of the elusiveness of the self and how myth, fairy tale, and other stories ultimately reflect our own complex search for identity. I am influenced by the fairy tales and stories that I grew up with and the sinister and peculiar aspects involved with them. I use imagery and symbolism that is connected with these stories to engage the viewer with their already accumulated knowledge of the subject. However, each work is a manifestation of my imagination in connection with the tales. Yes, that is Alice falling down the rabbit hole-but the situation changes with everything tumbling out from her skirt. Such visual ambiguities expand the sense of mystery that these stories already hold for me.


In my work I use compositional elements such as deliberate cropping of figures and other spatial constructions in order to allow the viewer to have their own interpretation of the imagery. The titles are often derived from the stories that the pieces are influenced by but usually have no connection to the imagery. This adds to the ambiguity and influences the viewer’s interpretation of the work further. Through these methods I hope to instill a sense of uncertainty that threads back to the mystery of the Self. “But if I’m not the same, the next question is, who in the world am I? ’s the great puzzle!” –Alice (Carroll, 23)

Throughout history, humans have found assistance in wrestling with the disturbing issue of identity through myth, fairy tale, and other such stories. In her book The Interpretation of Fairy Tales Marie-Louise von Franz explains the ultimate point of fairy tales in this way:

"After working for many years in this field, I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavor to describe one and the same psychic fact, but a fact so complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize in all its different aspects that hundreds of tales and thousands of repetitions with a musician's variations are needed until this unknown fact is delivered into the consciousness; and even then the theme is not exhausted. This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self, which is the psychic totality of an individual and also, paradoxically, the regulating center of the collective unconscious. (von Franz, 2)"

The Self, and all that it entails, is the embodiment of who one is and the search for Self is the driving force behind all of my artwork. As von Franz describes, the Self is “complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize” not only in it’s connection to fairy tale but also in connection with us as individuals.

(Read complete honor's thesis >>)

(Go to Curiouser & Curiouser Gallery >>)



narrow crossing

"Narrow Crossing"
Oil Painting, 2010, 4 x 3 ft

Elusive Encounters

Jessica Augier 01/31/2012


BFA Solo Exhibition - April 19th-23rd , 2010

The intangibility of one’s self is the catalyst for this work. I find that the struggle for identity is a universal issue, a matter that I share with everyone. The individuality of each human being is constantly progressing, a product of memories, interactions, and environment. I am especially interested in the point in one’s life when the transition from adolescence to adulthood is primary. The physical change in one’s body and the integration of sexual instincts makes this time very influential in the self-discovery process. From a feminine perspective, I am aware that even after this point in life there continues to be a push and pull between innocence and maturity. My intention is to capture the complicated, layered uneasiness connected with this struggle.

Artist Statement
The imagery I have been working with for this series features an anonymous female figure and a chair. In tandem these two focal elements create a narrative. I see the chair as a representation of the figure’s Self; it is at the same time a part of her and separate from her. She is interacting with the chair in different ways, which parallels how one can interrelate with their personal identity.

By creating a pared down environment with a flattened background the atmosphere becomes ambiguous, secluded, and edited to reflect the starkness and tension of the narrative while highlighting the importance of that moment. This elicits the connection with the identity crisis in that it involves struggle with isolation, reflection and acceptance. The existence of dynamic patterns within the paintings, such as the dress fabric itself, is another reflection of the dense, complex interior world of the psyche.


My paintings tell the story of an individual caught within the constant search for self. This is a theme integral to children’s stories like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, which involve young women on a journey of self-discovery. I find it intriguing that this journey leads to a suggested loss of innocence, a matter that has profoundly affected my work. There is a fairy tale-like quality to the paintings, enhanced by the nontraditional cropping and spatial nuances. I intend for the viewer to connect with the figure through the odd perspectives and awkward situations in which she is found.



A Few Afterthoughts: was launched by Professor Ralph Slatton in the fall of 2011. Its primary mission was to give our art students and alumni of East Tennessee State University a forum to express their creative views. From its inception, Arthoughts was created for all levels of participation, spanning the disciplines of visual artists to art researchers, from conceptual artists to the traditionalist. We try to be all inclusive for the learning experience.