by Nicole Durbin
BOS Studio Visit is an ongoing series that seeks to showcase the impressive spectrum of artistic expression on display during Bushwick Open Studios. All interviews were performed during the 2014 BOS weekend.
[AiB] How would you describe your work and themes to a layperson?
[JM] I’m a portrait painter—I work with people from my life—so it’s all based on intimate relationships. I’m trained traditionally, but I’m incorporating abstract elements and metaphorical language on top of traditional portraiture structure.
[AiB] Could you tell me about your process?
[JM] I photograph everyone myself, then work from [the photo] as a reference. I use certain techniques to abstract the realism, so I either sand down certain parts of the body, blur, or add color glazes to push the work out of the realm of the real to the more conceptual and metaphysical.
[AiB] How does the work evolve as you go? Do you have a vision when you begin?
[JM] It depends. Sometimes I jump into it with a fully set format that I’ve worked out in Photoshop or just through writing and journaling, and sometimes the painting dictates where it goes, depending on who I’m working on and the person themselves.
[AiB] How do you decide who you want to work with, and why?
[JM] Well, they’re all people close to me, so it usually depends on what’s going on with their life and the moment and if I’m kind of attracted to them.
This portrait on the wall is another artist friend named Sharona, and I was thinking about painting her in a time when I was in this deep lull and I didn’t really know where the next body of work was coming from. I’ve always been really attracted to her work, so I needed to paint her to siphon off some of her energy, in a way! It was a mutual back and forth, but it was about honoring her creative spirit and taking some energy from that.
[AiB] How would you say your work has evolved over the course of your career?
[JM] I’ve always worked with the figure, but in terms of growth it’s become a little more metaphorical and conceptual, jumping away from photography and photorealism and into other layers of abstraction.
[AiB] What else should people know about about your work?
[JM] That it’s based on people, and relationships, and spiritual connections, and cosmic realities and realms and matrices and…yeah.
For more of Jenny Morgan’s work, visit her website: here.