Jill Frank

(American, b. 1978; resides in Chicago, IL)

Photography has a relatively short existence within the history of visual representation. For this reason, many of the stories and images that inform our modern beliefs lack photographic records. Jill Frank recreates iconic scenes of religious significance that have been illustrated thus far by artists in the form of painting, printmaking, and writing, but are specifically lacking photographic representation. Her current series examines the role of photography in contextualizing our collective memory of historic events.

Working in collaboration with students from the western suburbs of Chicago, Frank acts as both director and photographer during her photo shoots, embracing subtle signifiers of human emotion exhibited by her amateur actors, such as anxiety or awkwardness. These sentiments are usually excluded from more familiar depictions of religious iconography, in which the artworks favor gestures of grand divinity, confidence, and wisdom. The inclusion of humanistic mannerisms—as well as the parks, backyards and other residential settings in the backgrounds—make Frank’s photographs appear startlingly commonplace. By modifying classic theistic imagery to emphasize the ways it might translate into today’s society, the photographs uncover subjective meanings within religious iconography and create a contemporary portrayal stripped from its historically ornate representation.

Jill Frank received a BA from Bard College (2001) and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008). Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally including solo exhibitions at Golden in Chicago, IL and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.