JC Gilmore-Bryan was fascinated with Notre Dame Cathedral long before it burned to the ground in 2019. She began making prints of Notre Dame while studying in France. Read more of our interview with JC by clicking Here!JC Gilmore-Bryan is recognized internationally for her explorations and experimentations with non-traditional screenprint techniques and materials – especially regarding her artworks of Notre-Dame Cathedral that she created onsite during residencies in Paris in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Immediately after Notre-Dame Cathedral’s April 15, 2019 fire, JC began donating sales of her artworks of the Cathedral to the Cathedral’s rebuilding fund – a policy that continues and for which she has received a “CERTIFICFAT D’APPRECIATION” from Michel Picaud, President, Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris.
Having earned art degrees from MTSU, Vanderbilt, and Columbia, JC’s professional career was launched into the epicenter of nonconventional contemporary art in 1975 when she was selected by artist Red Grooms for his “Ruckus Construction Company”: the team of artists that created a 3-D caricature of New York City, entitled “Ruckus Manhattan,” that included a 30-foot World Trade Center, a 37-foot subway car with passengers, a 31-foot Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Woolworth Building, etc. etc. – all created and exhibited (prior to touring internationally) in the celebrated 88 Pine Street building that was designed by the world’s most renown architect of the time, I.M. Pei, and with the entire project assisted by the then-new organization, Creative Time, which has now commissioned and presented public art projects by thousands of artists worldwide. Noted critic Judd Tully wrote a book about Ruckus Manhattan in which he said this: “Ruckus curtsied to an avalanche of bravo reviews. Never before had the hoards of Gotham invaded the elitist gallery corridors . . . like Barnum & Bailey at Madison Square Garden.”
Just as JC broke through artistic boundaries then, she does so now with her continual challenges to the conventions of screenprint mediums and processes. And just as she confronted the staid international respectability of New York City in 1975, she now interprets the internationally revered reputation and image of Notre-Dame Cathedral by the use of radical departures from screenprint norms. And just as the 1975 “Ruckus Manhattan” artwork revealed truths about New York City, so do her current artworks enable viewers to transcend cliche understandings of Notre-Dame Cathedral. Her artworks of the Cathedral have been featured in the Cite Internationale des Arts’ annual exhibition for Paris’ Fete de l’estampe, and also in the United States.
JC’s career has included a theme of explorations: from a C.I.E.S. residency in Zimbabwe, to a Fulbright Scholar appointment to Bulgaria, to selection for seven residencies at Paris’ Cite International des Arts, a facility that, at any given time, hosts residencies by more than 300 artists from around the world. Her continuing teaching career has included more than 30 years at the highly ranked VCU School of the Arts – the school selected by Qatar to initiate its “Education City” which was later joined by seven other schools including Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, and others. Her teaching career has also included the most recent 10 years teaching at Virginia State University which, in 2018, was named Best HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest.
JC grew up as one of eight children in a working class family in Nashville. Her professional career began with four years in New York City followed by four years in rural south Georgia where she headed the art department of a small college. She then moved to Virginia where she continues to work and teach. Her artworks have been exhibited locally and internationally including in France, Bulgaria, Russia, Peru, Scotland, Italy, Canada, England, and others.