Throughout my work, I portray and project myself onto the animal as a means to explore the damaged psyche while also honoring actual gestures and experiences of the animal. The animal is rendered into isolation, so as to focus inward on absence of connections and unfulfilled desires. I attempt to give an intangible force a voice through a subject that is essentially unable to speak for itself. I want both conversations, about the human condition and the animal condition. The approximated representations create relatability between the work and the viewer, and the work and myself that is necessary. The animals remain essentially true to form and gesture, not exaggerated or intentionally anthropomorphized. My tortured process is informed by human emotion, by loneliness, desire and obsession. These emotions are translated in the neurosis of my process. The obsessive mark making, or means of rendering the animal form, mimics the fur while also being emblematic of the depth and complexity of the animal and its emotive form. It also becomes emblematic of the complexity of human emotions.
The lack of environment is a suggestion toward a mentally and psychologically charged space; a space that alludes to existentialist views on the human condition such as lack, loss, disconnect, and uncertainty. This space allows a connection on an emotional human level by depicting the animals out of their original context into a negative space that becomes introspective and internal. The psychological implications of this space are both discomforting and familiar; there is at once both a presence and an absence.
The intimacy and empathetic nature of my process speaks to my fidelity towards the animal as emotive and autonomous, just as my fidelity towards the expression of my emotions of my personal experiences speaks to the pains of the human condition. It is in this duality that there is room to think about psychological and social issues concerning both the human and the animal.
Artist Bio / CV
JenMarie Zeleznak was born in 1984 in Cleveland, Ohio and is a 2009 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art's 5 year B.F.A. Painting program. She received her M.F.A. in Painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011. JenMarie has exhibited works in numerous venues in Cleveland, including the Art Gallery at Cleveland State University, Spaces Gallery, and the Reinberger Gallery. JenMarie's first solo exhibition was in 2008 at the Wooltex Gallery in Cleveland titled, "Sentiment, Apathy, or Somewhere In Between". She also exhibited works at the New York Affordable Art Fair in New York. In the late summer of 2009, JenMarie coordinated an art auction benefit for the Public Animal Welfare Society of Cleveland at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which raised over $5,000 for animal welfare through the arts. JenMarie recently exhibited a selection of drawings at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio for the 5th annual “Masterpieces” exhibition as well as in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Savage Art Gallery. Her latest solo exhibition was in late 2011 at the Ashmore Gallery in Savannah, Georgia, titled "Lovesick: The Psychological Animal". JenMarie’s work is concerned with social and emotionally driven experiences affected by uncertainty, desire and illusion. She proclaims the animal as autonomous and self-referential, but also as an emblem of the human condition. JenMarie lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.