JILL MCFARLAND


 photo by MNG Studios

Jill McFarland is a Philadelphia-based artist working in drawing, painting, and collage. She is from Northeast Philadelphia and began her artistic career while in college for Journalism.

Jill was inspired by a class she took at Bucks County Community College titled 'Time and Environment" which focused on climate change. While in class she wrote a paper that compared current American fashion styles with the visions of "future" fashion imagined by those in the 1950's and 60's. Jill added a visual element to this assignment by creating a collage which embodied the ideas presented in her essay. Through her research and writing, a digestible view emerged of how the unpredictability of time and place can cause our visions of the future to become unrealistic. This assignment was the inception of her lifelong journey into societal inquiry through the visual arts.

Jill’s work explores the observation that our hopes for the future can often be in opposition with the reality of unpredictability. She is interested in the legacy of the “American dream”, and her work often has themes of poverty, crime, addiction and injustices. Also serving as inspirarion are pop culture, technology, information accessibility, and the roles these play in modern-day coping mechanisms. Through this she explores the challenges that one faces with personal wellness under late-stage capitalism. Her abstract pieces show the viewer a mirage of what could have been, offering a lingering feeling of nostalgia that’s difficult to shake off, akin to looking at childhood photographs as an adult. 

Her first solo exhibition was held at Chaayya in South Philadelphia in June 2018, where she launched a line of t-shirts, including the one boasting "I don't need therapy, I have this t-shirt!", exposing the modern consumer's distaste at being in touch with their dark emotions. She continues to channel her own emotions into drawings, painting, and collages that are emotionally charged, provoking, and critical of the society that we live in.

A special thank you to Carolyn Schew, Jonathan Rotsztain and Julia Mroczek for their help putting this site into fruition.