Jill Mathis grew up in Texas and studied sculpture and photography at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in San Antonio. She began her journalism career while still at school and worked for various newspapers throughout the South. In 1988, Jill was accepted into the Photojournalism School at the University of Texas at Austin on merit of her portfolio documenting both the homeless situation and the political scene in San Antonio.
After leaving school, Jill began interning with some of the leading fashion photographers in New York City. She remained in the city becoming the full time assistant to Ralph Gibson. During this time she began an extensive series on the Hasidim of Brooklyn which was later expanded to various parts of the US. This series can be found in the Jewish Museum of New York and the photographs are frequently used as visual aids material in courses on Judaism at Colombia University.
Shortly after moving to New York, she began a series on the rodeo which honed her recognizable style and that would continue over a period of five years. The noted American photography critic, Tom Beck, wrote that the work, “…sets up a dialectic between the real and the abstract…and is surrealistically romantic, paying homage to the 19th century way of viewing the world by using ideas about perception and the ambiguous line between reality and abstraction.” This series became one of her most successful and can be found in the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), The International Center of Photography (NYC), The Brooklyn Museum of Art (NYC), The Norton Museum of Art (Florida), The Birmingham Museum of Art (Alabama), The Aldrich Museum (Connecticut), The Amos Carter Museum (Texas), The Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio), The Ross Art Museum at the Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware), The Albin O. Kuhn Gallery at the University of Maryland (Baltimore) and The Buhl Foundation (NYC).
In 1995, Jill was one of ten selected by the magazine, American Photo, as a leading young voice in American photography and was labeled as part of the “Next Generation.” Her work on the homeless in Texas was exhibited in an itinerant show sponsored by the city of San Antonio entitled Emerging From the Shadows and became a permanent part of the collection at the San Antonio Main Library. That same year, her work, along with that of Diane Arbus and Imogen Cunningham, was included in a show dedicated to women in photography entitled Fields of Vision at the University of Maryland. In 1996, Jill was invited to participate in an international symposium of artists, Mapping Space, in the Czech Republic where she met her future husband, the Italian sculptor, Valerio Tedeschi. Jill moved to Italy later that year while continuing to exhibit in the states. In an earlier trip to Australia and New Zealand to photograph the indigenous people of each country, Jill began the series Parallel Text that has become her principle work and is an extensive series which finds its base in etymology. In the fall of 1996, Jill had her first museum exhibition at the Aldrich Museum and came to the attention of Olympus Cameras, UK which in 1997 awarded a generous grant which culminated in the book Parallel Text and a solo show in 1999 at the Lipanjepuntin Gallery in Trieste, Italy.
Jill continued exhibiting in America with shows at the Parrish Art Museum (NY), The Ross Art Museum, the University of Colorado Art Gallery, and the Columbia University in a show of their then recent acquisitions with Elliott Erwitt, Ralph Gibson and Marilyn Bridges and at The Albin O. Kuhn Gallery in a show curated by the renowned photography scholar for the Corcoran College of Art, Andy Grundberg, while beginning to exhibit in Europe with shows at the Galerie Baudoin Lebon (Paris), The Consulate General of the United States in Milan, Alberto Crevola’s gallery Arte ed Altro and a commission from the Centro di Ricerca e Archiviazione della Fotografia (Italy) for the show Dal Friuli al New York at Columbia University.
In 2002, Jill was commissioned to create a photographic installation and a limited edition watch for the project and book, a Thousand Hounds, published by Taschen Books. The multi-photograph installation was exhibited at the Pain Weber Gallery (NYC), the Norton Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum (Ohio), The Ross Art Museum, The Delaware Art Museum, The Durham Western Heritage Museum (Nebraska), The Avampato Discovery Museum (West Virginia), the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Canada), Seibu Gallery (Tokyo), Keihan Gallery (Osaka) and the Robert Miller Gallery (NYC).
In 2005, the acclaimed Double Elephant Press, whose past participants include Helmut Newton, Larry Clark, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, invited Jill to publish a limited edition portfolio on her Parallel Text series entitled Words & Images. The photographs from this project culminated in various exhibitions including the Maximum Exposure show at the Norton Museum, the New Art, New Ideas exhibit at Carleton College (Minnesota) and the Sidney Mishkin Gallery’s show Between Language and Geography in 2007. The work became included in numerous public and private collections including the Mead Art Museum (Massachusetts), the George Washington University (DC), Georgetown University (DC), Brown University (Rhode Island), Bryant University (Rhode Island), Carleton College (Minnesota), The Michigan Museum of Art, Wake Forest University (North Carolina), the University of Pennsylvania, The University of Albany State, Oklahoma University, Dickinson College (Pennsylvania) and Vanderbilt University (Tennessee).
Returning to her journalism roots in 2008, Jill received a year long commission to document an area in Piedmont which resulted in a collaborative show in 2009 with Ralph Gibson at the Guggenheim annex, ARCA, in Vercelli, Italy. Subsequently, Jill’s work, along with that of Sally Gall, was shown at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts in NYC and she was included in various collective shows including Through The Lens: Studies in Photography at the Trout Gallery (Pennsylvania), The Nature of Landscape and Photography at the Mishkin Gallery, and the Annual Works on Paper at the Delaware Museum of Art.
In 2011, Industria, the first of the series of shows on Italian industry sponsored by the industrialist, Bruno Guidi, was presented at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.
A traveling show, Jill Mathis: Oeuvre Museale, was held in Tunis and at the Palais Royal in Rabat, Morocco. Throughout that year, Jill’s work was featured again at the Mishkin Gallery in a show entitled The Changing Roles of Photography, at the Castello di Rivara, at the Vanderbilt University Gallery in a show called Text and Image in Contemporary Art and in the Cool and Collected show at the Delaware Museum of Art which showcased the portfolios acquired over the past decade and included such artists as Donna Ferrato, Pete Turner and Ralph Gibson.
In 2012, Jill published the book, Dreaming of Ingmar Bergman (Damiani Editore) which draws on her photographic/ etymological survey of the places and the poetics of Ingmar Bergman with the majority of photographs done on location in Sweden.
Continuing the collaboration with Bruno Guidi and accompanied by the English artist Chris Gilmour, Jill exhibited the second in the series on Italian industry in 2013 at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa with the show, Contemporary Art Meets Industry, along with participating in shows at the Castel Dell’Ovo in Naples, The University of Pennsylvania, and the show Global Perspectives: Photography as History, Sociology and Art at the Mishkin Gallery in New York.
Jill continues to exhibit regularly in Europe and America and her work can be found in both private and public collections and is cited in various university studies and anthologies on photography.
* All photographs are from the series Industria 2014, certified & printed fine art glicée – 90 x 120 cm.
Official site: http://www.jillmathis.com/