Jackie McElroy


After receiving an MFA in painting from the University of Montana, Jackie McElroy began her teaching career at Northland State Junior College in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Pursuing her ambition to get back to the West as fast as possible, she moved the next year to teach at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, 50 miles closer to the "Big Sky." While in North Dakota, she must have discovered that the term "Big Sky is misapplied to mountainous Montana, because she has been there ever since teaching and making art about the vast, empty-yet-full reaches of the Red River Valley. She is represented by galleries in Chicago, St. Paul and on the East Coast, has been in more than 80 national juried print shows in the last 12 years and has had many solo exhibitions in the Midwest and East.

Artist’s Statement

“My work, I’ve come to realize, is about place. When forced to look back at the whole collection of pieces created over 25 years, I came to the realization that I am indeed a “regionalist” with a small “r.” I work in series. That is, many of my prints contain similar images. It’s a matter of seeing things from several points of view. If an “elevator” print works, there must be other ways to play with the same notion. More than 30 prints done between 1973 and 1980 were elevator images.

Besides elevators, over the years I have played with drains, rainbows, hot air balloons, and, now, ships. Many of these things have nothing directly to do with the Red River Valley, especially ships, but by juxta­position of these unrelated elements with this improbable landscape, I hope to stimulate thought and response. Eastern North Dakota is not an “easy” landscape. I hope that my fantasy landscapes help viewers invest time in appreciating the subtle beauty of the open plains, the dazzling skies and color schemes. To do so is certainly rewarding. Most things worth doing take some effort.”