: Housekeeping, Emerson Dorsch, Miami 2021
Jenny Brillhart: Housekeeping
For her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, Jenny Brillhart presents painted set-ups that she arranges and re-arranges in her studio. These paintings relay with haunting harmony and similitude the light and quality of her practice space. Brillhart comes to her routines with a set of principles: no object is more important than another; the building, its light, and space are as many materials as any other, including the paint. The objects are often ready and within reach.
Laid over these principles, heightened awareness over the last year of moving houses, keeping house, and watching her children become their own people, fundamentally unknowable even in times of forced closeness. Her actions, movements, and disturbances within her studio space are similar to those repetitive processes of cooking, cleaning, arranging, and neatening up. Still, she feels freer amongst her autonomous objects. In the studio, the materials and the artist are freed from function. Objects coalesce into arrangements, as if in a dance.
Brillhart explains that the found materials affect and can direct the way she paints. Her studio objects, light, and time open new paths of decision-making. Said in another way, the setting up, arranging, and making things just so has made her sensitive to the situations the objects need. There is indeed an absurdity to making a careful arrangement of often discarded things, like insulation or leftover drywall, and then dutifully paint these set-ups. This absurdity is a comment on the chaos that lies just beneath, and the lengths and efforts made to feel a sense of control and order.
Acknowledgments: Francesco Casale, Sinisa Kucek, Mac’s Framing, and Fulano Inc.
About Jenny Brillhart
Jenny Brillhart was born in 1972 in Keene, New Hampshire. She received a BFA from Smith College in Northhampton, MA. She then went on to study at The Art Students League, NY and in 2003 she graduated from The New York Academy of Art with an MFA in painting. Jenny has shown widely in the U.S. and Europe. She lives and works in Blue Hill, Maine.
Her paintings, installations, and photos are informed by her surroundings both found and created. She is interested in the structure and function of often overlooked material. Many ideas arise through a studio-based building and arranging routine using objects and photographs. The content often references art-making, domesticity, and construction. By creating stilled moments through three-dimensional object placement, the commonly understood job of something may be altered. The use of time-lapse photography captures what could be missed and draws the day. Tools like rulers, cameras, brushes, and prints often leave their mark. Physical space, light, time, and material are constant participants in the making and display. Process and flexibility allow for unexpected moments.
The paintings derived from built set-ups, further consider composition and cropping and their subjects’ relationship to painting. The paint is sculptural as well; its anatomy in plain view. This movement and manipulation of mediums reveal attempts to control and create content through form, light, and structure.
Brillhart has shown widely in the United States and Europe, with a strong exhibition history of gallery shows in Florida, Maine, and Berlin, Germany. She has exhibited widely in the New England and Florida, including shows at Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME; in Fringe Projects at The History Museum, Miami, FL; the Audrey Love Gallery at the Bakehouse, Miami, FL; the deCordova Biennial at the deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; Oolite Arts, Miami Beach, FL; Dimensions Variable, Miami, FL; and Frost Museum of Science, Miami, FL. In Germany, her work has been included in shows at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden and Sammlung SØR Rusche zu Gast im Museum Abtei Liesborn. Her bibliography includes writeups and reviews in Artforum.com, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Ocean Drive, Sculpture Magazine, Miami Rail, The Financial Times, and The McKinsey Quarterly, among others. She is represented by Emerson Dorsch Gallery. She received a BFA from Smith College in Northhampton, MA. She then went on to study at The Art Students League, NY and in 2003 she graduated from The New York Academy of Art with an MFA in painting. She was a resident artist at Vermont Studio Center and Oolite Arts.
While in Miami, she taught at the New World School of the Arts. She lives and works in Blue Hill, Maine.