Jenna Gribbons paintings explore the feelings and implications of seeing and being seen. Her paintings are intimate portraits of her friends, partner, family and fellow painters which encourage the viewer to reflect on their role as a consumer of beauty, intimacy and as voyeurs of the narratives of others.
A focus on vision permeates every layer of Gribbons work, with titles such as Ritualized Looking, Deck Peek and When I looked at you, the light changed. The scenes are painted from Gribbons first point perspective, making the artists presence felt by emphasising her particular viewpoint. The viewer directly replaces the artist, seeing Gribbon's subject from the exact position that she occupied in the scene; not only looking at the subject, but invited to view Gribbons own experience of looking at them.
Gribbons most personal paintings are those depicting intimate moments in her relationship with her girlfriend, who appears in many of Gribbons paintings both as a muse and as a lover. These portraits address both the singular gaze of Gribbon viewing her partner and also, more broadly, how desire for a womans body from the perspective of another woman is depicted.
Although her diaristic portraits reveal insights into her own daily life, Gribbons style and themes are rooted in art history. Gribbon pays particular attention to the way light plays on the skin and the texture and sensory quality of skin-on-skin contact is conveyed through her virtuosic and impressionistic paint-handling. Themes that populate the history of painting also frequently feature on her canvasses: fêtes galantes echoed in outside gatherings of friends, wrestling pairs and reclining nudes. These art historical allusions serve to recontextualise these traditional themes in the present by depicting women, not as decoration or passive objects in scenes, but people that the artist knows and paints with a loving knowledge of their character. Whether wrestling or reclining, the women in Gribbons works are active, zealous and self-possessed.
The first solo exhibition with MASSIMODECARLO
London will be in January 2022.