Jill Ziccardi’s work is influenced by nature and symbolism, domesticity, satire and American slang language that calls attention to our own absurd and harmful associations about being “female” and “male”.
Her work takes inspiration from a seemingly unremarkable 20 second experience when she was a young artist. One day, she stepped into an elevator full of men and one of them was discussing his affections for a woman he enthusiastically referred to as a “hot little tomato!” The image of a sexy woman as a tomato amused her, offended her and ignited her sassy sense of humor. In addition, the image of a tomato made a meaningful connection to her ethnic Italian heritage, but also to the objectification and devaluation of “the female”, that was well known to her growing up. This chance encounter opened up a Pandora’s box of ideas that she is still executing today, and likely indefinitely…
Ziccardi’s arsenal of images are commonly known and quite varied (Chick, Skirt, Bombshell, Prick, Nuts, Bunny, Tail, etc…) and are reappropriated from slang language and reclaimed as the artist’s own. A specific fabric is chosen for the “protangonist” of each painting, thereby creating a connection between her materials, her process and her purpose. In addition, Ziccardi manipulates the fabric by painting out parts of the pattern, and by using stamps that add her own playful motifs to the canvas. Her paintings continue to the outside edge of the frame, which are ornamented with objects that tease the protagonist, often posed amidst a lush, imagined habitat or domestic interior. Mocking past and present stereotypes with humor and irony, Ziccardi’s images expose the disconnect between the sexes, and the bias that is embedded in our common language and in our psyche.