Like the Spice is pleased to present Jenny Morgan: Abrasions, a selection of the artist’s recent figurative oil paintings, the artist’s first solo show at Like the Spice and in New York.
In her tensely psychological portraits, all depicting people close to the artist, Jenny Morgan scrapes and sands away the top layers of paint creating wounds that are at once repellant, humanizing and technically masterful. Like drilling down to the molten core of the subjects’ anatomy, the areas that are worn away mark the paintings as more than portraits but also as bodily stand ins, as though if you disturb them, the wounds may open up and start bleeding. It is left to the viewer whether it will be blood or red paint that will flow.
Presented on stark monochromatic grounds, the figures’ presence confronts the viewer with a shocking dose of intimacy. From ten feet the figures seem powerful, statuesque and attractive. From five feet you begin noticing what seem like scrapes and rashes – compelling you to draw nearer. Up close you realize the full technical prowess of Morgan, who not only renders uncanny likenesses and emotionally complex portraits but lays the under-layers so that the “finished” painting can be sanded and carved revealing the blood and guts of both the subjects and the painting itself. Tiny pinpricks of gesso peek through where the wounds are deepest, creating a fascinating marriage of image and physical structure; the canvas’ texture becomes a pointillist itch you can’t scratch.
Jenny Morgan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1982. In 2003 Morgan was Valedictorian of her graduating class at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Colorado were she attained a BFA. Jenny then went on to finish her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2008. She has exhibited nationwide in solo shows at the Plus Gallery and the Pirate Gallery in Denver, Colorado and has participated in group shows at Columbia University, The LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery, and multiple galleries in Colorado, Florida and New York City. Morgan has been added to many public and private collections across the states including The Museum of Fine Arts Key West, Florida. Like the Spice has recently featured her work at Scope Art Fair, Miami and Bridge Art Fair, Miami Beach as well as in “It’s a Small World” a group show at the gallery. Morgan has appeared in numerous publications including The Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, New American Paintings and Westword. Jenny Morgan currently lives and works in NYC.