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In a world that is saturated with digital images, a world that finds itself exposed by the almost complete absence of online privacy, Jenna Gribbon finds a way to communicate her point of view through the depiction of her intimacy; bringing the viewer within the images characterizing her everyday life and the inventory of data that have been shared online by the artist throughout the years. 

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Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, American painter Jenna Gribbon has become famous for her incredibily vibrant and powerful approach to the artistic subject; coming-out of the closet with an imagery and a technical confidence that have placed her within the highest levels of the expressionist painting scene.

In her work, primary attention is given to the theme of intimacy, both in a tacit and explicit way, showing the artist whilst living-up with her role of mother, but also showing her while letting go to her newly discoverd queerness and her deep love for her fiance Mackenzie Scott. 

 

Jenna Gribbon, Chrissy Taking Reference Photos for Her Paintings, 2017. Oil on canvas

 

What Jenna Gribbon directs her attention to, in terms of subject of her research, is the subtleness present within the act of seeing. A moment in which the observed is not only perceived, but perceives that he is being perceived, he is aware of being seen, he is invested emotionally and adapts his behaviour and appearance, driven by the fact that he, or she, is watching me, watching you. The subject is consumed by the eye of the painter, in a similar way to how the viewer consumes the image of the painting, with the difference that the subject has a sense of awareness towards the fact of being observed. 

 

Jenna Gribbon, My Girlfriend in a Short Skirt, a Row of Men Between Us, 2020. Oil on canvas
 

If we take as an example a recent painting like “My Girlfriend in a Skirt, a Row of Men Between Us” (2020), what we will find is a scene that is built to enhance the sense of desire and observation that is present between Jenna Gribbon, placed in the crowd, watching, and her girlfriend, Mackenzie Scott, who is on stage, playing the electric guitar, hence performing a somewhat cathartic act, while knowing that in the crowd, in the multitude of men, are the loving eyes of Jenna. This duality creates an interesting a connection between her performance, and the consciousness of being seen that acts as a filter for her script. As Jenna Gribbon states herself: “It’s about that experience of standing in the audience with all these men in the front row and just watching her being seen”. This feeling becomes intriguing and collective, when put in the social-media context we live in nowadays, as “users” constaly observing and being observed, flirting-with, while spying the other people’s intimacy, and displaying our own private moments for others to see. 

Jenna Gribbon and her figurative research, put us in contact with the common feeling of inspection we are all subject to, unveiling the structures and mechanisms that are put in act, when our private persona is invested by public scrutiny. Gribbon stands nowadays as an example of both pristine painterly technique and personal and social sensitiveness.

 

Jenna Gribbon, Microcosm, 2020. Oil on canvas

 

Jenna Gribbon, Funny How They Call it Shooting, 2020. Oil on canvas

 

Cover image: Jenna Gribbon, Me, a Lurker, 2020. Oil on canvas

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

 

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