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drawing of household items in squares


Artist Jaye Schlesinger is having a moment.

by Steve Gilzow

From the April, 2019 issue

Local artist Jaye Schlesinger likes to keep things simple: over the past few years, she has given away or sold roughly half her material possessions. Most were donated to Kiwanis or friends. All the remaining objects became subjects of 380 small oil paintings. Titled "Possessed," that contemplative two-year project is now bringing her national attention: it's featured in the April issue of The Artists Magazine, which reaches 60,000 artists around the country.

Many of the paintings are groupings. Grooming, for example, depicts five objects: two nail clippers, tweezers, scissors, and an eyelash curler. "I was exploring the 'stuff' we choose to live with, how much we really need," she says. She was also asking: "Do we possess the objects, or do they possess us?"

Though Schlesinger has been a guest on a KonMari podcast, she's never read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

But it was a good time to get organized: she and her husband moved ten times in sixteen months. Their 3,300-square-foot home sold faster than expected, while their 1,800-square-foot condo ("Not that small, really") took longer to complete than promised. They moved from one short-term rental to another as their builder missed successive deadlines to complete their new home.

The paintings have been exhibited as a group twice, but "380 is a lot of nails in a wall," Schlesinger says. She is considering holding a sale this fall, displaying them throughout her home. "Our condo has four levels," she says. "I'm thinking of having the smallest paintings on the lowest floor, with the prices going up as you ascend."     (end of article)

[Originally published in April, 2019.]


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