The painter Jackie Saccoccio has died at 56.

Justin Kamp
Dec 7, 2020 9:42PM, via ARTnews

Jackie Saccoccio in her Connecticut studio, November 2019. Photo by Charles Benton courtesy Van Doren Waxter, NY.

Jackie Saccoccio died on Friday, December 4th at age 56. The artist, who was best known for her abstract painting practice, had been battling cancer for five years, according to her New York gallery, Van Doren Waxter.

The gallery said in a statement:

We at Van Doren Waxter are deeply saddened by the death of Jackie Saccoccio, who was widely praised and admired for her powerful canvases, and also deeply respected as a true painter’s painter. We have lost a tremendously talented and beautiful friend, and our condolences go out to her loving husband and daughter.

Saccoccio was born in 1963 in Providence, Rhode Island. After receiving a Bachelor’s in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985, followed by a Master’s from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago three years later, her art career began in earnest. Starting in the 1990’s, she received acclaim for her vivid gestural abstraction, reminiscent of Abstract Expressionists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell. She produced her large-scale canvases with a formal inventiveness that included techniques such as dry-brush scumbling, applying iridescent mica paint, pressing canvases together, and turning canvases while the paint was still wet. The resulting works were highly-layered, vibrant mixtures of geometric patterning, free-flowing drip networks, and large chromatically-shifting fields of color.

Saccoccio drew on a wide range of artistic forebears in her work, referencing not just abstract titans like Piet Mondrian but also the color palettes of artists such as Lisa Yuskavage. She also drew heavily from other creative fields for inspiration, naming her paintings after plays like Shakespeare’s The Tempest or movies like Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary art in Kansas, and MOCA Jacksonville. Her work is in the collections of institutions including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Saatchi Gallery in London.

“In a static object, like a painting, I am trying to communicate this idea of impermanence,” Saccoccio said in an interview with Elle. “I use varnishes, mica, and other mediums that will look completely different when you walk to the right of the paintings, as opposed to standing in front of a painting. In a way, it's an effect to make a static object seem like it's moving.”

Justin Kamp