EG: (r)Evolution of Gender – Jenny Michals

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Jenny Michals
Artist Statement

A fluid perception of my self is at the base of my work, including identification with one gender or another. Distilling my sense of self through trickery is how I create my art.

Once I start thinking about art I can’t make it anymore. My mind gets in my way. I begin to question every mark I make, trying to locate its meaning. Being pretty logical and somewhat impatient person I want to put the art in its place before the ink is dry on the paper. In order to stay out of my own way when I draw, I follow the line from the pen and avoid deciding what the drawing will be for as long as possible. However the mind being what it is, at some point I see a foot or finger or an eye. At that point I complete the foot, or finger or eye, and continue on with my little charade, alternately trying not to decide what the drawing will be and choosing what it will be. This cycle goes on until the drawing is finished. Frequently emerging out of this game is a figure drawing whose gender is ambiguous.

The drawings are worked into colorful, carefree, and also dark paintings that incorporate both familiar and utterly unknown scenes. In order to create ambiguity about where and what EXACTLY is being depicted I paint realistically and leave other areas flat and two dimensional. The paintings also go through and investigative process. I add and delete at will, in order to find each piece. This process creates layers of stains from past incarnations.

Just below the film of consciousness within the subconscious sits all kinds of neuroses, repressed emotions and unacknowledged desires. This cast of unseen players can and does react. In my paintings the players manifest and embody emotional responses to those unappreciated desires and neuroses from below. The form of human emotions is nebulous, and I represent this world with beings, which are genderless, elongated and exaggerated. This not only bypasses the logic of the viewer, it disarms the power the subconscious has and establishes a bond of sympathy, creating rapport between seer and seen.