Corporeal but also ethereal, Jenny Morgan pushes the boundaries of figurative painting by exploring new ways of affecting her impeccably detailed images. Her haunting portraits are perfectly realized only to be annihilated; their surfaces sanded and stripped away to reveal physical and spiritual wounds of the flesh. By disturbing the surface of the canvas, she achieves a striking intensity and psychological depth in her work, breaking through the ideals of traditional portraiture and the preciousness of realism. In addition to self-portraits, Morgan often depicts people she knows personally, though not intimately, stating “If there is a spark of mystery to our relationship it leaves room for me to explore them on canvas.” Morgan’s deeply personal work examines the complexity of human relationships and awareness, providing the viewer a visual and conceptual window into the vulnerable multiplicities of the self.
“No matter how stripped away or bruised a Morgan portrait is, the luminescence remains: that, and the eyes, powerful, real, gazing out from the canvas. It is through the eyes that we see Morgan’s emotion and her powerful fight to prove that painting is not dead and that portraiture can indeed be challenging, cool, and now”. – Leanne Haase Goebel, Art Ltd. May 2010
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1982, Jenny Morgan was the Valedictorian of her class, graduating the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Colorado with a BFA in 2003. Jenny then went on to finish her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2008. Prior to gaining representation with Driscoll Babcock Galleries in 2012, the oldest gallery still operating in NYC, she appeared in numerous solo shows between New York with Like the Spice Gallery and Denver, Colorado with Plus Gallery, where her career was launched. Morgan has participated in group shows in Colorado, Salt Lake City, Florida, California, D.C., Sweden and New York City.
Jenny was named the 2006 Top Representational Artist by the Rocky Mountain News “Top Of The Rockies” and was a finalist for the Outwin Boochever 2006 Portraiture Competition at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. She has appeared in numerous publications including New York Times, New York Magazine, Art LTD (her painting “Covet” featured on the cover), The Village Voice, Playboy, Modern Painters, Hi Fructose, The L Magazine, Poets and Artists, Maker, Working Class, Juxtaspose, Milk Maid, Whitewall, The
Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, New American Paintings, Westword as well as a wide ranging number of online-only blogs and art-related sites. Plus Gallery published her first monograph “New Territory” in 2010 documenting her entire history of paintiongs dating back to 2003. The gallery followed with a second 180 page book “We are all setting suns” in 2012, featuring works completed between 2009 and 2012, along with select writings and documents of Morgan’s reference images.
“Along the way, her work has gained focus, depth and provocativeness…Morgan has moved toward straight-on portraits that display a welcome new level of technical and conceptual sophistication…The effect of these interventions is to disrupt the painterly illusion of the realism and make clear the presence of the artist’s hand, creating a fascinating duality that gives these pieces depth and elevates them above so much other work of this kind.” – Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post, November 2009
“Jenny Morgan – Self Portrait” is the first video composition of the acclaimed young painter from New York City. Morgan discusses the more intimate details of several of her most compelling paintings of the last 4 years. Known for her exquisite and revealing self portraits as well as her interpretations of other people in her life, Morgan’s body of work redefines the genre of contemporary portraiture, making her one of the most exciting young artists in contemporary art today. Filmed in August, 2011 at the end of her summer residency in Denver, Colorado in conjunction with Plus Gallery.