Jessica Sladek

(American, b. 1981)

For her Wildness series (2016-2019), Jessica Sladek makes photographs of the natural world to contrast the long history of picturesque and idealized photographic depictions of nature. Instead, Sladek considers what she calls “underdog landscapes”—places that are messy and unremarkable—to counter the grandeur often depicted in landscape photography. Her compositions mirror the complexities and interconnections of ecologies by giving all components within the frame equal consideration. Without any one part of the image pulling the viewer’s attention, the images reflect a dense and wild natural system of competing parts in symbiotic connection.  

 Jessica Sladek completed a BA in Neuroscience with a Biology minor from Carthage College, Kenosha Wisconsin (2003), an AA in Commercial Photography from Harrington College of Design, Chicago Illinois (2006), and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Illinois (2017). She has received fellowships at the Arts Club of Chicago (2017-2019) Ragdale Artist Residency (2019), among others.Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions throughout Chicago including: Filter Photo Festival (2014), Columbia College Chicago (2017), Arcade Gallery (2017), Mana Contemporary (2017), and The Arts Club of Chicago (2018).