I remember being struck by Jenny Morgan’s paintings when I saw her 2005 solo exhibition at Plus Gallery, in Denver. Even then, only a few years after graduating from her BFA program, she had great technical virtuosity. But more than her proficiency with paint, I felt that she was doing something bold and direct with her subject matter, the female nude. The subject could not have been more traditional. And yet Morgan’s paintings felt different. They felt contemporary. To this day Morgan finds fresh ways of exploring the same subject. As her technique advances, her ability to give a contemporary edge to a classic tradition remains. It is as if every painting is an emphatic response to one of the most basic calls of the artist: to make pictures that speak with a new voice to the pictures that have been made in the generations before.
Beyond contemporary and classical, Morgan’s unique approach to painting has many contradictions. Her works are about people but they are also about painting. They are tender depictions of flesh and striking fields of color. They contain natural, near-photorealist qualities combined with abstract and synthetic elements. Her subjects can be at once both vulnerable and defiant, sexy and spiritual. They are sometimes deadpan, almost scientific, and sometimes expressive and casual. These are the productive contradictions that make the work vital.
Adam Lerner, Director, MCA Denver
From the forward to the publication SKINDEEP, 2017
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 both solo and group exhibitions in Colorado, Salt Lake City, Florida, California, D.C., Sweden, London, Miami, New York City and elsewhere Her first solo Museum exhibition SKIN-DEEP took place in the summer of 2017 at the MCA Denver in Colorado, accompanied by a hard-back publication.
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. To date, her paintings have been featured on the cover of Art LTD, Hi Fructose, Bl!sss, Juxtapose, Slice and Poets and Artists. She has been featured in numerous publications including New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Art Ltd., Playboy, Modern Painters, Hi Fructose, The L Magazine, Poets and Artists, Maker, Working Class, Juxtapose, Milk Maid, Whitewall, Slice,
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 paintings 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.