Jesse Mockrin's paintings subvert historic works of art by isolating and reframing details, drawing attention to unsung historical narratives hiding in plain sight. This painting focuses on humans’ domination of animals, highlighting the underlying violence behind the impulse to manipulate nature. Stony Sleep enlarges a passage from Jacob van Loo’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman and Her Family from the 1650s, a depiction of a dead bird dangling from a man’s hand. In the original work, the carcass is an accessory—a testament to man’s potency. Mockrin’s interpretation highlights the cruel indifference of the image by tightly cropping the original composition, focusing on the contrast between the elaborate dress of the unseen figure and the lifeless bird.
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Jesse Mockrin’s paintings refer to symbolic traditions and cultural narratives in the history of European art. She uses methods of cropping, enlargement and combination to destabilize and invigorate the works she references, adding new significance even where her renditions remain faithful. Her work often addresses gender and androgyny by reclaiming stories from a feminist perspective.