Since the Chelsea galleries reopened a few months ago, there has not been much on exhibit that has compelled me to leave my house in order to see the art in person. I felt differently, however, when I received an email announcing an exhibit of new paintings from Wilmington, DE-based painter Jennifer Small. As soon as I saw her bold and colorful canvases featuring abstract shapes and patterns, they reminded me of the shaped, sculptural paintings by Beverly Fishman as well as the furniture designs of Shiro Kuramata. It delighted me to imagine what a line of art furniture from the mind of this artist might look like. I wanted to see these paintings in person right away. Sadly, I was informed that the show was viewable online only, but gallerist Robert Berry was kind enough ask Jennifer for a statement about her work exclusively for this post. Sweet.
“Beauty in Banality is about seeing everyday routine as an opportunity to absorb visual curiosities in situations or places that are often overlooked,” Jennifer explains. “I use abstraction to elevate these glimpses of ordinary environments into bold, engaging compositions that can live in a white cube gallery space but are still approachable and relatable because they are grounded in observations of common things.” It’s nice to know that I am not alone in having taken inspiration from my post-lockdown neighborhood walks.
“The majority of the paintings in Beauty in Banality were made since the Covid-19 lockdown this past year,” she continues. “I was inspired by walking my dog around the block, witnessing caution tape around playgrounds and abandoned soccer fields. My paintings become a visual diary of my movements in a specific time and place.”
Suggestive of the works of Thomas Nozkowski, Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series, and Wendy White, Small’s work often features a major focal point, as well as secondary items, creating visual interest with neutral areas juxtaposed with detailed patterning. Find out more about Jennifer Small, and see all of the fourteen works featured in the Beauty of Banality series, through January 10th 2021, by visiting the Robert Berry Gallery.