Jessica McCarrel


CAAF Residency st[art]@Art Central, July – August 2008




Jessica McCarrel is an art administrator, painter and death rocker. She currently paints images of cadavers and is a regular contributer to FFWD Magazine. Her work can be viewed online at



My work, thus far, has centered on the human figure and the subject of the nude. The human body has been investigated art historically and is informed by existentialist readings. My recent body of work, which I would continue to expand upon, looks at the body’s internal function in a series of paintings entitled “Cadaver Heads.”

Anatomy itself reifies the body as a text and a visual spectacle, because it deals with the bodies with which we are familiar in a manner that is patently unfamiliar. The series “Cadaver Heads” explores this un-familiar territory of our interiority through following the art historical genre of Portrait painting. In these portraits the cutting and opening of the body reveals what is normally not visible and provides us with a gaze like no other: a mirror into our own corporeal interior.

I expect to continue to produce paintings that deal with human anatomy through painting sections and cross sections of various body parts working from the text; Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic study of the human body by Johannes W. Rohen, Chihiro Yokochi and Elke Lujjen-Drecoll. These painted anatomical studies are for me technical puzzles as I struggle to capture the visceral qualities of flesh, muscle and sinew through a specific medium. The paintings are visually contrary to austere medical illustrations and conceptually question how one views the human body.

These internal paintings of the human form, may lead to future paintings that combine the external and internal body into one painting. I am envisioning paintings that mimics art historical medical paintings of medical academies with each of the figures performing cadaver dissections are in fact skinned figures themselves while the ‘cadaver’ is live. Or a series of paintings that recreate 15th century portrait paintings by transforming the figures into skinned cadavers.