PLATTSBURGH CITY - Saturday evening, 12/29/12
A Saranac Lake native, Jennifer Curtis is a senior at SUNY New Paltz majoring in painting and drawing. She looks like the classic girl next door: blonde and pretty, neatly and stylishly dressed.
I ask the artist to pose by her favorite work for a photo. She stands next to her gloomy painting of a feline eating a dead rabbit, a close-up of the cat chewing on a bloody facial wound.
"It's just part of nature," she explains.
OK, but shouldn't a bright young woman be rendering a nice pastorale scene of a horse grazing in a gently rolling field of green grass and sunny-yellow daisies? Sure, in a world where only stereotypes live.
During the reception for her exhibit at the ROTA Gallery I ask Jennifer if she had any interesting reactions when someone saw her more intense artwork first and then met her later. She smiles when I mention how an art patron might have been expecting a goth chick with black clothes and lots of piercings.
Jennifer acts a bit nervous, kinda shy, while I interview her. Of course, having a writog fire away with so many questions while scribbling away in his notebook can be discomposing. Or maybe her nervousness is because this is one of her first exhibitions and she's worried about the reaction to her creations. She needn't worry. While some of her work is dark and outre, it all shows imagination with an artist's eye for detail.
One phantasmagorical painting, acrylic on canvas, depicts a floating child's face, both eyes missing, an electrical cord bifurcating behind the boy's head, splitting into new cords. Each cord runs through an open eye socket, dropping into the upraised palms of the subject, terminating into a plug. Jennifer explained the inspiration behind "Plug Eyes" was the birth of her nephew, thinking about how the latest generation is immersed in a world of electronics, TV and computers.
But not all of her creations are so bizarro. Other pieces in the exhibit, for example, paper mache bears leaping out of solid walls right at you, are offbeat fun.
The Jennifer Curtis exhibit will run for the next two weeks at ROTA Gallery, 50 Margaret Street. More info at www.rotagallery.com . To see works by Jennifer online, www.jenniferscurtis.jux.com . She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .