Artist Feature: Jacqueline Surdell

Jacqueline Surdell approaches her studio practice with the disciplined resolve of craft and the unbridled spontaneity of contemporary painting. She imagines the woven canvas as a space of undulation and growth — employing her body as a weaving shuttle and her hands as brushes. Surdell’s work revels in the Janus-faced union of painting history with the irreverent saga of craft — challenging the internalized and gendered rules we use to give each meaning. In this unity of supposed opposites, the expanded histories of painting materialize as content while the swollen textures of bound rope deny illusions of the classically painted picture plane.

[her], 2019. Braided cotton cord, shoe-lace material, faux fur, chicken wire, acrylic, enamel, conduit. Image courtesy of Ian Vecchiotti.
Delicate, 2020. Braided cotton cord, shoe-lace material, satin, meat hooks, conduit. Image courtesy of the artist.
Charybdis, 2019. Braided cotton cord, shoe-lace material, enamel, acrylic, threaded steel barbel. Image courtesy of the artist.
Untitled XII (reflections on the water), 2020. Braided cotton cord, steel. Image courtesy of the artist.
Scylla II, 2019. Braided cotton cord, oil, paracord/macrame plant hanger, volleyball, enamel, steel. Image courtesy of Ian Vecchiotti.

Current Reading List:

On Stuff & Nonsense: the Complexity of Cloth by Claire Pajaczkowska 

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

The Game We Play by Susan Hope Lanier

About the Artist

Jacqueline Surdell was born in Chicago, IL. Growing up in a family of athletes and artists, Surdell spent her early life between the court and studio. Surdell played ten years of competitive volleyball and was recruited to play at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA where she earned her BFA with cum laude honors. Since then, she has created work fusing fibers, found-objects, video, performance, and installation. Surdell earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). Surdell lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Recent solo and small group exhibitions include Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, UW Parkside, Kenosha WI, Apparatus Projects, Chicago, IL, and Chicago Artists’s Coalition, Chicago, IL. Group exhibitions include South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN, Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL, and Antenna Gallery, New Orleans, LA. 

Surdell received her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. In 2015 she received her BFA from Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA.

To learn and view more of her work, visit her website: and gallery: You can also find her on Instagram: @jacquelinesurdell