Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Jennifer King is a Los Angeles based artist, curator, and adjunct professor. She graduated with a MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2017, and works out of her Santa Ana studio and teaches at Mt San Antonio College, California State University Fullerton, and Riverside City College.
"My work confronts themes of femininity and power in contemporary life. I create images through a mix of the imagined and the observed, featuring figures. I’m passionate about portraying female and male figures in non-traditional ways in order to show a balance of power and to illustrate the different experiences of the male vs female gaze. The concepts of my work are inspired by John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”, and painters who inspire me are Marc Horowitz and Benjamin Bjorklund. The larger than life female figures I paint exude feelings of uncertainty, unease, disconnect, but also strength and heightened awareness. Her environment constrains her. There exists a sense of longing and desire to break out of her confined space, to be a strong female individual, ignoring anyone's expectations. Subtle expressions are contrasted with vibrant, sensual colors; her way of grabbing your attention. In contrast, and in an effort to add balance to the art world, my paintings of men approach the male nude in the same way women have been routinely painted, as lounging, decorative, sexual objects; but this time for the female gaze."
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the arts.
I'm from Orange County, and had an interest in drawing and painting from an early age. I got my BFA from California State University Fullerton, and then spent 4 years growing my skills with oil paint and color theory. During this time I dabbled in curating and experimented a lot with different mediums and techniques. I then got my MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2017.
What kind of work are you currently making?
I'm currently focused on a series of nude male paintings. In 2020, I took some time off to reflect and focus on the ideas I have for this series, and mostly worked on designs which I create as digital collages. I then use the collages as reference for the oil paintings. I have 5 wood panel oil paintings I'm working on at the moment, and have some thoughts brewing for some larger works on canvas and linen.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
Currently, and typically during a semester when I am teaching, every day is different. I work in the studio when I can. Research and designs for the paintings I usually do at home, so once I get into the studio I'm very focused on the paintings. Now that the spring semester is coming to a close, I have much more time for art making.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
The artists I currently follow on Instagram are a great inspiration to me. A few current favorites are: @ericmerrell who is an amazing desert landscape painter, @andrew.salgado.art who is known for his saturated color palette, @tschiegg69 who I often get inspired by for color schemes, @peterchanart who is amazing with oil paint as well as gouache paint, and @ivagueorguieva who has been making some massive abstract figure works that blend drawing and painting together.
Where can we find more of your work?
IG: @jenniferkingstudios website: jenniferkingart.com