Jenn Shifflet’s paintings envision an internal refuge that reflects the wonder of the natural world. At once ethereal and organic, her dreamlike, fantastic images connote arrested movement within light-imbued atmospheres or mysterious underwater realms. Their inferred spaciousness, drama of light and shadow, hints of botanical forms, and clouds and water ripples reflect the artist’s inspirations — the garden surrounding her studio and childhood memories of imaginative play in the forest. A delight in nature, attentiveness to her surroundings, and depiction of constant flux echo Shifflet’s Buddhist perspective that "the ineffable beauty of life is held within a profound fragility of impermanence."
In these richly layered works, photo-based images serve as underpaintings that are barely recognizable or completely obscured in the finished paintings. The exhibition also features Shifflet’s recent and rarely seen works on paper, in which fluid organic forms painted with watercolor, ink, and acrylic are offset by surrounding fields of flat color. These evocative, masterful works demonstrate Shifflet’s continual discovery of new terrain.
Jenn Shifflet (b. 1972) received her BA from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., in 1995 and her MFA from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, Calif., in 2004. She was awarded an affiliate residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts from 2004 to 2007. Her work has been exhibited nationally since 1988, including at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Rotunda Gallery, Corcoran Gallery and National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; Maryland College of Art and Design, Silver Spring, Md.; University of California at Santa Cruz; di Rosa, Napa, Calif.; Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Kala Institute, Berkeley, Calif.; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley; and the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Md.