Jenny Mullins recently received her MFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She currently has a studio at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA.
At first glance, Mullins’ work is easily digestible: east meets west converge to form a landscape or still life composition. After closer inspection, Mullins’ thinly applied watercolor paintings on paper stretched over wood supports allude to something deeper and a little more distasteful– beyond the concept of cultural hybridization.
Commenting on consumerism, a disposable society and the spectacle, Mullins suggests a western world that not only appropriates eastern spirituality and its accompanying rituals, but one that also exploits it.
“I am creating a land derived from carnivals and candy wrappers: a low-budget mysticism. It is consumable, disposable and filled with the empty calories we crave”.
One painting depicts a large smiling grizzly bear that seems to be participating in some kind of mardi-gras parade — dressed up in strands of flower necklaces and streamers. However, littered around the bear’s feet are candy wrappers, soda cans and rotting food all commingling with artificial flowers. (She talks more about the symbolism of the bear in the video).
Mullins spent some time in India and it is not surprising that she is also formally influenced by work from India in addition to art from Thailand and Tibet — countries she has also travelled to. Her work starts out as meticulously composed linear drawings then carefully filled with washes of bright color. There is definitely more than meets the eye in the paintings of Jenny Mullins.
Mullins recently was included in a drawing show at Reyes and Davis. This past fall she was also part of Options, WPA’s biennial exhibit featuring emerging artists. To see more of her work check her website at www.jennymullins.com