I work in oils and watercolors, exploring the subjects that intrigue me the most; nature, time, and the creative process. My landscapes consist of scenes from my national and international travels. Some were painted on location and some were derived from photographs I took specifically to be used for paintings. They tend toward an impressionistic style. Through them I chronicle the intensity of that moment during which they are captured: the passage of light and atmosphere; the place where I stood painting and quiet while surrounded by the movement of people, breezes through the trees and clouds passing the sun; the rise and fall of the day's heat; the feelings evoked during a rarified time, in a place where I am confronted by vistas or people that are far different from my everyday experience. My portraits of dancers and musicians reflect my ongoing interest in flamenco and are a result of my contemplation of the differences between the ephemerality of music and the concreteness of art. A dancer's ability to take something that is as invisible as a sound and translate it into movement is an
ongoing source of interest for me.
what the critics are saying:
"The paintings of Jill Zylke (pronounced zill-key) are sunlit landscapes and portraits whose primary characteristics are soft harmonious color, lively brushwork and compositions which use carefully handled geometric perspective. The works have a refined, almost orientally subtle beauty. A guitar player strums his guitar in front of a house with geometric doorways bathed in morning sunlight. In an another painting, “China Backyard”, sunlight falls on a back lot with a cart, hanging laundry and a huge stone grinding wheel. A large windowless building of stone and concrete dominates the background and has doorways filled with darkness below a barred grill in the wall. No one is present. One is drawn into the quiet and stillness of the scene but there are hints (the grinding wheel, the barred grill, the windowless building) of a place which has element of a prison. Considering the history of oppression in China the painting may be a comment on the psychological atmosphere of a Chinese locale, or represent a personal prison of some kind for the artist. The note of ambiguity is an important element in the painting.
In other of her landscape works, of gardens, mountains, parks, and apple orchards, the emotional atmosphere is one of the life-giving aspects of nature and sunlight. In some, fruits and flowers are abundant, in others mountains over complex jumbles of hills but, in all, the clearly arranged space speaks of a kind of hidden order within nature. These paintings portray the peace and tranquility nature is capable of providing with perhaps a general hint of pantheistic forces which direct nature on an organized course.An analysis of the work of Ms. Zylke finds a thread of continuity in her landscape and figurative work; her faith in the life affirming aspects of nature. Beyond that, there is a hint of belief in compassionate forces, whatever they may be, beyond nature. Her art reaffirms the place for beauty as a sustaining and comforting force in our lives. It is full of imagination, lively brushwork, subtlety in the handling of composition, poetic light, and elegant refined color."
– Robert Kameczura, Art Writer and Critic, Big Shoulders Magazine, Chicago Artists’ News