Jennifer May Reiland: meeting with a special draftwoman!
#DRAWING Details, many details flood the artist’s drawings Jennifer May Reiland. This American artist, born in 1989 and who lives in New York, draws its inspiration from fiction and non-fiction writings. Then, she combines passages, historical moments to create new stories in which her characters come to life. His meticulous and very colourful work, enhanced with watercolour, was exhibited at Art Basel Miami in December 2018. She is currently artist-in-residence at Open Sessions to the Drawing Center of Soho.
Marlene Pegliasco: Jennifer, could you present your background?
Jennifer May Reiland: I was born in Texas, but I have lived in New York for about 12 years. I’ve also lived for periods in Paris and in Spain. A lot of my influences come from growing up religious in Texas, but also from my fantasies about history and experiences in and fantasies about Europe. When I was a little girl I always dreamed about the past, some fantastical time very different from the ordinary world around me. I am still doing that in my drawings.
Marlene Pegliasco: Your drawing contains a lot of details and give an important place to the human figure. Narration is important in your art? What are your inspirations?
Jennifer May Reiland: I have always made narrative work. It was never really a choice, on the contrary it is something I can’t avoid. I do a lot of reading about history, and characters and events will become lodged in my head–I’ll often become obsessed with a person and the only way to exorcise them is to make drawings about them. Right now I’ve become really interested in the seventeenth century, especially the accusations of witchcraft against prominent women in France and Spain at the time, as in the Affair of the Poisons in 1680. When I read about events like this, I’ll have images in my head, and that is often where my drawings begin. Often the narratives I want to draw fit into archetypes that are important to me–I’ve always been drawn to Christlike figures, martyrs, beautiful women who are murdered by people that desire them, men who die proving their manhood. This is a theme I return to again and again. Whenever I read a story that connects to this theme, I am attracted to it.
Marlene Pegliasco: What place does the drawings have in your creation?
Jennifer May Reiland: Almost all of my work is based in drawing. I also make hand-drawn animated videos, which was the logical next step–expanding my drawings into time. I would love to work in other media in the future, particularly film and opera. I see my drawings as little theaters sometimes, where the figures act out dramas for me, and it would be great to expand this to the real world.
Portrait of a draftswoman:
If you were a drawing?: The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel is technically a painting, but I think of it as a drawing and it is probably my favorite work of art. I have a print of it hanging in my kitchen. My boyfriend bought it for me when we were apart to win me back and it worked. I would like to be the lovers in the lower right-hand corner.
Your favorite technique? Micron pens (mostly .005 and .01) on a big block of Arches Grain Satiné. Only the best.
“Drawing is like ….”? Making thoughts visible.
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