Monday, January 19, 2015

Jennifer B Thoreson

Jennifer B Thoreson is a young visual artist creating staged imagery that is both artistically stylized and meticulously crafted. Drawing inspirations from themes of faith and the intricacy of personal relationships, Jennifer is a dynamic and emotional illustrator of the human heart. With an innate ability to plumb the antique, the work is soulful; seeking the use of the forgotten or discarded, heavily symbolic, eerie and quiet.

Raised in a spiritual and conservative home in rural Texas, Jennifer grew up imaginative, curious, and experimental, and has used her upbringing in her intensely personal artwork to bring insight and awareness using heartfelt, acutely mapped personal experiences.

Jennifer is currently working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Alongside varied private portrait commissions, she is an international speaker and lecturer whose programs are sought after year after year by many professional public and private photographic organizations. Jennifer published her first monograph, Medic, in 2012. She has just completed her latest major body of work entitled Testament, a series of twelve images exploring love relationships and heavy burdens they sustain. Jennifer’s work has been a part of many group and solo exhibitions, and is represented by several major galleries across the country.

Artist Statement: Testament 

In my work, I revisit themes of human fragility, pain, and eventually, recovery. I am attracted to vulnerability, to peeling back a skin that reveals something precious, dark, and insistently tender. I am compelled by the moments where people are on an edge, barely laced together, befriending disaster, remembering something, or exposing something.

I am curious about how relationships survive, why they dissolve, how people love one another, and how such love is expressed. In this work, I am investigating heavy burdens and how we carry them. I am interested in the spiritual labor of bearing weight, submission, futileness, and persistence.

To create the work, I rented an empty house for a year, and transformed it into a makeshift sanctuary, a freighted space for constructing the photographs. I fabricated sculptural objects for each image, using materials such as wool, linen, clay, human hair, and beeswax. The materials borrow symbolic language from the Bible, and create alter-like, fleshy masses. The house reminds me very much of my childhood home, and provides a weighted, sentimental foundation for the images. Every object used in the meticulous staging of each scene references my childhood, and a time of spiritual emergence in my life. I imagine the house as a gateway, the space just before crossing over. The people in the photographs are in the final phase of bearing weight, moments away from finally laying it down. I am seeking the moment of relief, and relishing in the moments just before it occurs.

I like to know and feel the moment where people fall apart, and saturate my work in it. I want to push at a breaking point, and hold out hope for restoration. These photographs are representations of quiet, ultra-still, delicate moments of raw humanness; the phase just after a laboring, aching fall and at the point when renewal inevitably begins.

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