After 20 years as a literary artist focused on poetry, Jari Chevalier became fascinated with creating imagery of another kind. Working with paint, x-acto knifes and an extraordinary variety of paper, she began creating nonverbal poems through an unusual and meditative process of carefully inlaying cut pieces onto canvas.
In her early childhood she was introduced to Eastern philosophy through her parents’ interest in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. Later, she began practicing Insight Meditation and yoga. She spent six months traveling and teaching in Japan, India and Thailand. These experiences, her background as a poet, and her abiding fascination with advances in science prompt her artistic expression and inform her aesthetic.
Using papers from around the world, sometimes painted, printed or distressed by the artist, and including international currency, Chevalier’s inlaid collages repeatedly pose the questions: Who and where are we? Is there a beginning or end? Is there a layer or level that is in charge more than any other? Birds, flames, stars, veins, radar beams, strands of DNA, a chaos of competing forms falls within a simple grid. These images and forms clamor for space and interrupt each other to form the larger picture. On closer inspection they have been x-acto-cut to fit into one another. They are pieces in a puzzle of geometric and organic forms both mysterious and predictable. In a global picture such as ours, these questions are at the heart of a need for cooperation to solve the puzzle of making a functional and sustainable world.
Chevalier’s artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, including Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford, Connecticut; the Red Mill Gallery at Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont; the Haskins Laboratory Gallery, and Small Space Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut; and the Silvermine Gallery in New Canaan, Connecticut. A solo exhibition of her work, Mathematics of Ecstasy, toured to seven galleries in North Dakota in 2008 and 2009, including the Memorial Union Gallery at North Dakota State University, The Jamestown Arts Center, Minot State University Galllery, and the Lillian and Coleman Taube Museum. She is the recipient of residency grants from The Quarry at Marble House, The Vermont Studio Center, and from The Ragdale Foundation.
Her poems have been appeared in American Literary Review, Arcturus, Barrow Street, Boulevard, Cimarron Review, The Cortland Review, Gulf Coast Online, Ploughshares, Poetry East, The Massachusetts Review, and many others. She has written about art for M Magazine (thenewyorkartworld.com)
Jari Chevalier has appeared on the National Public Radio Program “Beyond Words” and Boston Cable TV’s “It’s All About Arts.” She holds a Master's degree in creative writing from City College of New York and a B.A. cum laude in writing and literature from Columbia University and has served on the faculty of the State University of New York at Purchase and Antioch University in Santa Barbara.