Art at Morton College. Jenny Hansen

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“There is something hopeful about the once “left for dead” piece of scrap that is discovered, revitalized, and eventually transformed into a catalyst for memories, visions, and adventures.”

Jenny annoucement

Jenny Hansen received her BFA from the University of Iowa in 2004, her MFA from Illinois State University in 2009, and her MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012. She presently works at Illinois State University’s Milner Library. While making monotypes and monoprints within the Lithography and Intaglio studios at Iowa, she found herself becoming increasingly more enamored with the variable editions that resulted from drawing directly on her prints. As the years passed, drawing and collage slowly began to overtake her practice, and have since managed to dominate the primary means of her expression. Jenny has participated in a number of both solo and group exhibitions at spaces such as: Violet Poe Projects, Light Fine Art Gallery in Kalamazoo, Best Friends Gallery, Heavy Brow Gallery, University Galleries at Illinois State, McLean County Arts Center, and the Bemis Underground.

I met Jenny in 2006 while in grad school. One of the things that originally caught my attention about her was her love for old things. Her attachment to an object seemed to increase when it got to the “about to fall apart” stage. She was an all-encompassing environment; her apartment, t-shirts, and artwork always seemed precious and fragile. At first glance, her work resembles layers of peeling wall paper, faded stickers, and paint flakes. But at a close inspection her pieces provide precious “moments of reflection and discovery” wrapped in “cocoons” of old scraps that she’s revived just for that special moment.


“All the standard psychological mainstays such as Fear, dread, memory, sexuality, childhood, death…and this weird need to sooth the anxiety surrounding these things through the power of domestic comforts. It seems that I will inevitably engage in subtle acts of aggression towards these comforts…thus proving their fragility in terms of the protective shield I’d love to believe they could provide for me. The most recent drawings present the viewer with several moments of scrap that come together to form a kind of “cocoon” or “fort”…similar to those that one might have built with blankets as a child. These tiny nooks and crannies form the kinds of private spaces into which a child (or an adult) might retreat while basking in her own imaginary constructions. (water has also functioned in this regard …small areas of water…be it a bath or a kiddie pool). These crevices provide for inward and solitary moments of reflection and discovery, an event I would liken to the very language of “scrap” itself…hence my attraction to it. A discussion that seems to come up again and again with various peers is that my work should focus exclusively on “that one, singular piece of scrap…” and how that one, singular moment should be the only thing nailed to the wall. It’s an interesting idea, but an idea that has always seemed (to me anyway) to focus more on the memoralization of that object. Death has a presence in the work, yes, but I’ve never wanted it to be the driving force. There is something hopeful about the once “left for dead” piece of scrap that is discovered, revitalized, and eventually transformed into a catalyst for memories, visions, and adventures. Though this way of “seeing” seems so difficult now, it once comprised the psychic life of my overly imaginative childhood. My drawings seek to find the snout of a shark, not just the corner of an befallen receipt on the ground. This process seems similar to the ways in which my former 8 year old self could transform the shadows on my bedroom wall into the nose of a witch, the eye of a monster, or the tail of a snake. I would often render myself into a state of fear-induced-paralysis simply through my lack of ability to turn that portion of my brain off when I needed to fall asleep at night. Now it would appear that I am seeking to recreate that process through drawing…and this recent work attempts to trace the chronology of the images that have personally left me transfixed in a state of terror. 
”   Jenny Hansen


This exhibition is free and open to the public.

May 5th through June 15th, 2014

Morton College   3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804

Building C, First floor. Across from the bookstore.

Curated by Diana Gabriel

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