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Jaymi Zents

Posted on Dec 6, 2015

Jaymi Zents

Artist Statement

The human figure has always been the primary focus of my work.  The contradictions inherent with the body provide much of my interest.  Many of my subjects are women who are self-aware, but vulnerable at once.  The ephemeral elements of mood and thought are met by the visceral qualities and implications of flesh.  Figurative subjects allow study of the relationships and co-dependence of dualities: The repugnant to the pure; Immobility and entrapment to freedom; the hidden and suppressed to the exposed and uncontrolled; Vulnerability to resilience; Chaos to quiet.

The importance of the contrary is reinforced by the materials chosen to work with and upon.  Delicately drawn surfaces are countered by more visceral components.  Wood, skins and fabrics reveal their own microcosms as they are worked upon.  Stains, knots and growth rings quickly give way to spider webs and roots, wings and blood vessels, and a vast array of biological forms.  The patterns revealed tend to weave a thread through all living organisms.  Jaymi Zents 3x8 72 dpi Private Collecion Copyright 2010 Jaymi ZentsSkins, despite bearing a sometimes grotesque quality, suggest empathy, as items all have had a relationship with in life.  In the context of relics, the rawhides find an importance and preciousness, but as rawhides, they reveal indifference as a discard, a leftover.  Imagery upon this type of skin introduces contemporary notions of identity, adornment, and sacrifice.  Similarly, silk plays the beautiful against the gross: A luxurious cloth born of the excretions of silkworms, silk is precious, yet purposeful as it protects fragile young during development in cocoons.  Wax is another common byproduct often used in my work.  A temperamental substance, it will collect the body warmth of those who touch it for any period of time, eventually gathering fingerprints of those who have come in contact, garnering an identity and past for itself.  Such highly organic mediums are suited particularly well to my work.  In part, because in their raw state, there is often an element of intrinsic repulsion to counter any beauty they possess, but also, because they have a past and meaning pertinent to everyday life.  Everyone has an experience or memory tethered to them.  In the end, I like to find and embrace the defects, recognizing greater beauty in things less than “perfect”.

Drawing has always had power as a most direct and effective means to communicate.  During the Italian Renaissance it was revered as “the embodiment of the artist’s ideas”.  There is a raw, honest quality to any drawing, as art in a more unfiltered state, rife with potential.  When placed upon ephemeral materials, delicate drawings spark a coveted quality.  Rachel Feinstein spoke of a small Lucivico Carracci drawing of the Madonna and Child that she had purchased: “It’s so delicate, like it’s on a piece of bathroom tissue.  And you think about how many hands it’s passed through, and in all those years, someone felt it was worth something.”  That sense of preciousness, of an inanimate, but strangely lively object, needing care and protection, is what created the lure of drawing for me.  Art is not always meant to be massive and confrontational.  Sometimes, it can have more power as a personal experience, held close and private.

Ultimately, my work relates intimately to the female body, to its strengths and its frailties.  Intelligence, strength, and beauty are vital, but all of these elements are magnified when juxtaposed to their counterparts.  It is this co-dependence of contrary elements that is central to my girls.

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