In her past performances, Jacqueline Overby works to disfigure her own persona and take on that of another. She covers her face and body with clay. She physically builds up facial characteristics, devolving into an animalistic, visceral state, and exploring the base “id” level of her consciousness, meditating on the concept of a descent down into the depths and darkness of one's self: of one's own death and rebirth as something foreign. Overby imagines the earth as mother, and how she would feel in today’s sociopolitical climate and likening it to the artist’s own history of traumatic experiences. Overby harnesses the energy of her trauma and transforms into the GAEA in an attempt to reach a point of equilibrium. Her performances often include the use of confines, sheeting, or drapery, harkening back to a feeling of suffocation and struggle paired with a sense of safety and comfort.
Her body of work, GAEA, is an amalgamation of painting, performance, and installation. She selects chosen still shots from her performance recordings to develop the active compositions of her photographic collages from which she then oil paints.
Overby is Influenced and inspired by multidisciplinary artist Olivier De Sagazan and James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis. An independent scientist, futurist and environmentalist Lovelock’s acclaimed Gaia hypothesis postulates that the Earth is herself a living organism; a co-evolving, synergistic, and symbiotic self-regulating organism that does what is necessary to facilitate life within the womb of her biosphere. Lovelock popularized the term geophysiology, or the study of living bodies. The interconnected web of all life functions together, and all parts are responsible for the health of the whole. The ancient Avestan meaning of the term “Gaia” refers to that of the material sphere, the totality of all creatures, and the concept of life itself.
Accepting this tenet, Overby invites the audience into the primordial darkness, and to embrace ‘’l’appel du vide”, the call of the void. Overby incorporates elements of her living body, and history of sexual trauma. She summons and inhabits a force that she has come to interpret as a Protector, forcing out those predators and turning the tables on those who would seek to harm. The gravitas of being a survivor of rape is met with a force that overpowers the horrors bestowed upon her. Predator now becomes prey as her anthropomorphic, earth covered visage mutates and metamorphoses into a terrifying power of wrath and retribution. Disrespect of the feminine is akin to disrespect of the Earth.