Jenny Mullins

Arlington, VA | by February 1, 2010

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

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