A new exhibit at Quad City Arts’ Rock Island Gallery through Dec. 11, is called “Extraordinary Women,” large-scale paintings by Jaclyn Garlock.

Garlock’s paintings depict life-sized women engaging in non-salaried work — from cooking to laundry to volunteering — and enjoying themselves as they do it. The titles of her paintings are borrowed from song lyrics, which is appropriate since she lives in Clear Lake, Iowa, home of the Surf Ballroom, where some say, “the music died.”

That line (from Don McLean’s immortal “American Pie”) memorializes the 22-year-old rock pioneer Buddy Holly, who last played the Surf

A painting by Jaclyn Garlock of Clear Lake, Iowa, part of the new Quad City Arts exhibit.

with Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson on Feb. 2, 1959, just before dying in a plane crash.

Garlock’s “bold, narrative” compositions are acrylic on canvas, according to Quad City Arts. She’s been an artist all her life, but didn’t realize it until she was in her 30s, her bio says. She tried teaching and then wanting to do something more creative, opened a silk-screening business.

After learning the process of silk-screening, she began to experiment with the process and learned that she could layer images to create more detail. She began staging scenes using various props, which she photographed and then printed on rag paper and sold at fine art fairs around the Midwest, her bio says. Although she had a BFA in painting, she hadn’t painted since college until the year 2000, when she decided it was time.

“After messing around with different subjects, I decided to do a self-portrait. I dressed up, put on too much make up, made my hair Tammy Wynette big and set my camera,” Garlock said in a Quad City Arts release. “I loved the result and was on the way to strictly figurative work. All my friends posed for me — they loved dressing up as something they were not.


“We’d set up different little scenarios and act them out like making a short movie. Then adding in various costume changes, I could stage and photograph the scenes to mimic the ideas I had in mind,” she said. “With Photoshop, photos could be cut and pasted, adding in another figure or different props, to create the best composition. I started building my compositions around women for the simple reason, they are fun to dress up, but added men to the picture a little at a time, until now where they are more than just window dressing.”

Happy with the direction her paintings were taking, Garlock let go of creating and selling screen prints at art fairs. She concentrated on building a body of work to exhibit regionally at art centers and museums, her bio says. She found that people related to her images and made up stories about the people in the paintings.

The online gallery of her work can be seen at https://www.quadcityarts.com/rock-island-gallery.html.

Quad City Arts is a nonprofit local arts agency dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the six-county region through the arts. Support for art exhibitions is provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Quad City Arts Gallery is at 1715 2nd Ave., Rock Island.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.


Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.