I'm happy to introduce this week's show by collage-artist Jenny Brown.
Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
That's a tricky question for me! I was born in Boston, but raised in a military family, so we moved constantly. We chose Vermont as our home base since we spent the most time there. I live in Providence, Rhode Island now, and have been here for about 4 years.
You're a self-professed collector. what are some of your favorite things to collect?
Paper would have to one of my top choices. I love every kind of paper, from the damaged, bargain-bin pieces you find in an art supply store, to book pages taken from a collection of antique Japanese prints. I also have a large collection old photographs, cards and scrapbooks from early 1900's.
These pieces all have collaged flowers that look vintage. is there a story behind them?
Most of these flower collage pieces come from greeting cards from the 1920's. A lot of cards from that time were pretty complex and multi-layered, so I carefully take them apart. I find a lot of material to work with just from the cards, whether it be tissue, the flowers, the string that holds the card together, or sometimes even the plain back of the card itself. I like the idea of bringing new life to an old story, and many of these cards, although damaged, have wonderful messages written inside.
The shape of the work (an amorphous shape that look to me like jellyfish and rooted plants) is unique and striking. What do you see them as, if anything?
I definitely see "sea creature" in these works. I like to think of their tentacles as roots that are reaching for something, or reaching to transform into something else. I feel like maybe these forms are reaching from the dark depths in which they inhabit, to somehow live in harmony with light and flowers.
On your blog you talk about the realization you had in the early 2000's that you loved working with found materials... what was that like?
I had always loved collage, but when I got to art school, I felt really pressured to be a "painter" like everyone else. It was the cool thing to do, so I felt shy of using photos and old books in my work. Once I was on my own, I realized my art really could be a process of working with the things I love, and didn't necessarily need to be about oil paints and canvas. It was a great relief for me, and I think my work got much better once I made the transition.
What are a few things that have been inspiring you lately (doesn't have to be art-related)?
I am completely infatuated with Francesca Woodman's photos right now, and really excited to see the show of her work at the Guggenheim. And musically, I am really loving the guitar sounds of Grant Green from the 1960's. His records are on heavy rotation in my house, and keep me cheerful.