In this body of work Jenny Morgan journeys to the legendary dark side of the moon and back. These portraits examine the light and dark sides of the human psyche by pairing saturated color spectrums with muted tones of sepia and gray; the contrast serving as a visual metaphor for polarities of consciousness. ‘Turning the Tide’ refers to the act of reversing the direction of energy and thought by transforming the darkness to light, and inversely, turning lightness to dark and revealing the psychological shadow. Psychiatrist Carl Jung speaks of the shadow as symbolizing that of which we are unaware of within the self. Jung says, To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by ‘the self’.
The manipulation of color in Morgan’s paintings illustrates a self that exists within a paradox of opposites. By limiting the pallet, she was able to simplify the body, allowing a deeper exploration into the psychic layers of the subject matter. The inverted portraits invite the viewer to witness light and shadow, trade places, and thus venture into the obscurity of the subconscious. The layers of color glazed over the figure activate the narrow pallet, pulling the subject back to life. This dichotomy is a visual representation of the struggle of the inner self to balance ones ebb and flow. Morgan’s use of loved ones and her own portrait as subject matter provides the opportunity to intimately investigate her relationships with these individuals and with herself.
Jenny Morgan’s work intertwines figurative realism with graphic forms. Her detailed images demonstrate exceptional technique, while abstracting the human body at the same time. Morgan’s work is a mixture of painting, demonstrating both skill with almost psychedelic flashes and transformative figures. The subject matter within her work are strangers to increase the mysteriousness, as she explains, ‘manipulates the figure to expose the individual’s idiosyncrasies and create a physiological portrait’. Working with people she relates to, allows Morgan to hone in on specifics of their character and present their personalities as she herself experiences them. Her portraits are stately hypotheticals into the personality of the individual represented.
JENNY MORGAN (b. 1982, Salt Lake City, UT) holds a BA from the Rocky Mountain College School of Design in Lakewood, Colorado and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. Morgan’s work has received critical attention in numerous publications including Whitewall, Hi-Fructose, The Village Voice, and The Denver Post, the highlight being her cover feature in Juxtapoz in May 2015. Her 2013 solo exhibition ‘How To Find A Ghost’ was named one of the top 100 fall shows worldwide by Modern Painters in 2013. Additionally, Morgan has realized several portraiture commissions for publications including The New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine. She has had solo exhibitions in New York, Colorado, Utah and Indiana and has been in numerous group exhibitions including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. and the 92Y Tribeca, New York. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Purdue University Art Gallery, University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union Art Collection, as well as major private collections throughout the world. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Morgan’s first solo exhibition with Beers will take place in March 2016.