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Jill Poyourow


The foundation of my practice derives from painterly traditions, personal iconography and a blend of vernacular/photo historical influences.

Source materials and references include an archive of family photographs and documents as well as images from old books, popular culture ephemera, life/nature studies and reproductions of art from through the ages. Also, an imagination populated with visions of fractal-like organisms, creatures and primordial life forms.

At the crossroads of painting, photography, ancestry and genetics, my Lands and Peoples Project explores differing levels of truth, realities of history, and hopes for the future of humanity. Exterior physical appearances mix with subjective, experiential cognitive processes while investigating the fragmented and visceral links of life.

Please scroll down to read about a couple of my recent bodies of work, the archives section of this website contains most of the series. Thanks!

LANDS & PEOPLES SERIES (1998-present)

The relationship between painting & photography fascinates me. In my decades-long Lands and Peoples series, images are culled from a series of old encyclopedias published in the first half of the 20th century. These documentary photographs provide me a basis for exploring how different levels of painterly and photographic realities can evolve and co-exist, while moving me to find significance and meaning in the act of painting.

These volumes are filled with the mesmerizing artistry of long forgotten early documentary photographers (some the children of portrait painters who took up the camera due to the invention of the fixed image). My years as a documentary photographer informed how I look at the world and picture making. Many of the oldest images in these books are the work of ethnologists and anthropologists who were exploring and recording towns and villages yet to be touched by the industrial revolution. Contemplating these images of a world long gone fills me with sorrowful inspiration. These books, for me, epitomize a simpler vision of human life on our planet, one that is driven by basic needs of survival.

In my largest LANDS AND PEOPLES work, The Natural Progression of Things, I aim to bring together specific personal, historical and cosmological events with the biological processes essential to life. I am interested not merely with nostalgic, exterior appearances of the physical world, but also with the subjective, experiential processes of cognition – visceral experiences of being human which link us to one another.