My paintings are psychological landscapes and emotionally complex narratives. I combine references to art history, pop culture, natural science and personal chronicles to represent the conflicts of life. The titles are important elements. Like me the stories are at once funny and sad.
Thoughts from comrades:
"Anna Jensen's paintings are a synthesis of classical and abstract figuration. Her body of work is inspired by moments of both trauma and exaltation. They are the fruit of years of rigorous and concerted research conducted in her home of the American South. With immense drive and rare sensitivity, Anna demonstrates the power of an individual to prevail through challenges and difficulty through creative transfiguration. Adorned with rigid masks and psychologically rich themes, these entirely personal and individual works take us on a journey through childhood, daily violence and action scenes. Her skillful combination of abstract and graphic art is reminiscent of France’s own “Figuration Narrative” a movement from the 60s and 70s, which was a reaction to English and American Pop Art. Jensen explains: "The more personal art is, the more universal". This unassuming yet genuine formula allows me to understand why I love her work and why I’m hooked on it."
-Dimitri Yin, artist/curator
"When you've suffered unspeakable transgressions as a young person, struggled with serious addiction and self-destructive issues, as well as the sudden loss of a parent, that's gotta destroy your faith in the world around you, and violate your attitude toward the world inside you. Even if you were to grow into the most hateful person, you would be deserving of everyone's love and compassion. But instead, if you can somehow heroically survive it, become a kind person who can reflect on your own suffering, and do things to express your sympathy for others who have suffered--you are worthy of our worship.
The first time I saw Anna Jensen's work, I was intrigued by the psychological tension therein. I didn't know what, but these paintings were definitely about something. When I met her in person, I felt a bit put off by what I perceived to be her guarded demeanor--that was a big mistake on my part. As I began to see more of her work, I felt an artistic kinship--like me, Anna packs her canvas with a circus of fun stuff, and gives painstaking obsession to details that would likely never be appreciated or noticed. My sense of affinity did not end there. I saw that, behind the disarming atmosphere of fun, humor, self-obsession, and sexuality, there was deep pain, a pure desire for love, and a tenderness for all earthlings (as is so heartbreakingly plaintive in her little birds). I had to get to know Anna better as a person.
As with her art, behind Anna's guarded facade, I quickly found a sweet, delightful human being, but one who has suffered deeply, and who fights everyday to turn her suffering into art, therein seeking catharsis which, she hopes may help others heal. My own wounds have certainly found comfort and encouragement in her work. I don't think worship is too big a word to describe what I feel for Anna and her art."
-Taiyo LaPaix, artist/curator
Pink Dog Review
Works by Artist, Anna Jensen
Pink Dog Creative 348 Depot St. Asheville, NC 28801
In the world of visual art artists too often suffer from an intense egoism that moves then to follow the crowd, to create works that meet the norms and expectations of the art public. They exhaust their creative energy in a hopeless endeavor to have someone else's experiences and to paint someone else's paintings.
On rare occasions an artist with integrity, like Anna Jensen who has a deep seated passion to express her vision, her understandings, and her spiritual and emotional reality, with unerring honesty, appears and teaches us new ways to see and understand the world with whole vision. With this significant series of works Anna has demonstrated her willingness to reach into the depths of her existence and pull out works that are filed with the stuff of life, to pull marrow from her very bones, so that we who observe might glimpse the psychological landscapes of her life and the multifaceted worlds she places in collision. Her soul, her heart, her pain, her fears, are all laid bare in a magical mix of poetry (the titles of her works a poetic entry point into the worlds created), and images that convey with clarity psychological dilemmas within human life. All of her works in some important way reveal points of crisis, or places and times when no word is enough --- realties where pattern becomes environment and space --- a setting in which her characters draw energy and strength as they partially reveal their secrets.
Her painting, She Would Rather Imagine Herself Relating To An Absent Person Than Build Relationships With Those Around Her, is a self portrait of the artist in bed with Van Gogh --- in his bedroom --- surrounded with objects from her own life that give her comfort. A place where she is able to gain emotional distance. The result is a powerful psychological vision of a place of safety, one where she will not be hurt. This emotion filled story probes the darkness where the known and the unknown intersect.
Two of her most telling works are a small gray painting entitled, Eyes That Never Yet Knew Weeping, where two sisters, innocent children, are not yet aware of the life to come as they share space with Babe Ruth as he says farewell to baseball, dying of cancer. The second, You Rescue Me, I Rescue You, depicts the same sisters at an earlier age, perched on the edge of a black and white striped beach towel. In both the impending danger and impending violence facing these interdependent children is palatable.
In her important self portrait, Tell The Truth Like It's A Joke, the woman struggles to take form against a swirling emotionally charged pattern of flowers and leaves (a departure from the regular patterns used in earlier works) that covers the wall behind her. Only the framed portrait of a well dressed man holding hatchet is in full focus. The story, and dark events, hidden within the recesses of this complex painting hides a truth that in every stroke seeks to reach the light of day. This portrait represents the departure point to equally exciting work yet to come.
While many of her painting convey a sense of alienation, two in particular demonstrate this with clarity. The first, Does This Have To Be The Process?, reveals a woman perched on the color filled world she has just created. She is alone and isolated from the tangible world in which most of us exist. The second, Gee Whiz Can Someone Tell Me How To Get The Fuck Out Of Here, shows the body of a young girl with the face of an adult woman trying to escape the reach of descending terrors, their color reveals their nature. Again the sense of isolation and captivity give the work a sensual, psychological cast.
All of the works in Anna's challenging expedition demonstrate both great courage and integrity. They mark Anna Jensen as an artist of significant note. Her paintings when assembled become a collection of the shards, scenes from a pain filled life that have been reassembled into an aesthetically excellent and humanly understandable whole.
Anna Jensen is an artist of great sensitivity and insight, and each of her works present the viewer with unresolved questions that will endure through the years to come.
-review by Robert Mohr
Robert Mohr is the art editor for the Ojo del Lago and writer of a feature called Focus on Art. He has a Masters in Fine Arts and was selected as an artist in Residence at the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art. He taught Fine Arts at Western, NC for five years, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Cincinnati... also served as the director of the Savannah Art Association and the Director of the B, Carrol Reese Museum at East Tennessee University and taught Art History at East Tennessee.