An Interview with Laura Tryon Jennings
"Bedscapes & Beyond" is the current exhibit at the gallery featuring the work of Laura Tryon Jennings. Laura is an incredibly talented artist and we are delighted to have her work here at the gallery. Earlier this month, she graciously took the time to answer some interview questions for us and we are happy to share the interview with you here today. Enjoy!
Your upcoming exhibit at the gallery is entitled “Bedscapes and Beyond”. Can you tell us a bit about the show?
I've been working on a series of bedscapes and interiors. I really love painting interior environments, particularly, sheets and light filtering through a room with window vistas. Sometimes when I've completed a few paintings based on that theme I feel the need to paint a land/seascape...to view just the nature element. The land/seascapes tend to be a bit looser (some more than others). I find I need for this release after being in the nitty gritty details of some of the interior pieces. I also enjoy zeroing in on a few objects in these interiors to create a still life.
Can you talk about the interior bed images and what they symbolize? What about the perspective from above?
The Bedroom Series reveals intimate and provocative scenes with particular focus on the power and authenticity which encompasses being vulnerable.
The perspective from above has always intrigued me. I can see objects and pathways more fully. I think there's some kind of heavenly aspect....like I can see the true rawness from above. I sometimes wonder if there's an element of only being five foot almost two inches which draws me to tall perspective.
In your artist statement you state “The underlying theme of the majority of my paintings is the tension between chaos and tranquility”. Can you share more how this is represented in your paintings in this upcoming exhibit?
This has been an underlying theme for twenty eight years. I feel most periods of my life have involved some degree of chaos. When my children were younger my existence was about trying to find balance between motherhood, household, relationships, and career. Life was fast pace. I was constantly looking for the quiet reflective moment. I still feel those are elements I'm trying to balance. There's a different intensity to them, but they're still there. Life is busy and swirling even amongst the softer minutes. I relish the calm peaceful times. Strangely I sense I need a certain amount of spontaneity/chaos and order. For example the bedscapes have unmade beds symbolizing a bit of the chaos surrounded by the more peaceful surroundings. The passion to create usually comes from a deeply felt place or concept. For instance, my rumpled sheets or “bedscape” series came from a very transitional period in my life. Many of the pieces have the quiet reflective quality while the window visits reminding us the kaleidoscope of life is still around us.
In addition to being an artist, you are also an expressive and creative arts facilitator. Can you tell us more about that and the connection between the arts and our well-being?
My role as a expressive and creative arts facilitator is similar to a midwifes’. I help guide one's own unique journey of self-discovery by exploring different techniques and exercises which help explore the intuitive, imagistic right side of the brain to enrich life, pursue innovative solutions, and develop spiritual connection in a relaxed, safe, supportive, and encouraging atmosphere. The primary focus is to work with the flow of the creative process, which allows one to connect more deeply with self in a unique, powerful, and quiet way. This inner landscape can lead to experiences of joyful transformation, awaken creative spirit, remembered playfulness, and open a fuller expression of authentic self by nurturing spirit. Through undemanding exercises, including simple writing, easy image making, gentle body movement, and sounds one can get in touch with the core self moving toward wholeness, healing, and well-being. No artistic or creative skill is necessary. The only requirement is simply a willingness to be open and explore. My work is always based on an expression of my own self-discovery which enables me to express my thoughts and feelings on canvas promoting a release and transformation.
Have you always known you wanted to be an artist? What has the path to your success been like?
Yes, as soon as I could hold a pencil I've been drawing and creating. It's all I've ever wanted to do. I didn't feel I had a choice to be anything else. When I decided I wanted to be a full time painter I was very fortunate to win a best in show award the first time I exhibited my work. The award included a solo exhibit, which gave me the courage to keep going. I had a nice steady presence through the nineties to the early/mid two thousands. I had several major life events happen within a five to six year period that coincided with a national economic downturn putting the art world on its ear. It was definitely a period of transition and time to regroup for me. It lead me to diversify into teaching oil painting and becoming an expressive arts facilitator. These two roles enriched my life in ways I wouldn't have imagined. They were in the driver's seat during for several years even though I continued to paint and exhibit. The past few years I've missed not having my painting be in the forefront, so I've adjusted my schedule to be in the studio more. I LOVE all three of these hats and feel lucky to be able to make a career in the art world.
Your paintings are collected by a number of famous faces (Joan Lunden, Bruce Hornsby, Mary Higgins Clark) and are hung in collections at hospitals and universities (Harvard University). How does it feel to know your work is being admired by so many?
It’s flattering to have some people and establishments who are well-known as collectors. I suppose it adds some level of intrigue to my story.
I know it must be hard to choose but do you have a favorite painting from this exhibit? If so, why is it a favorite?
My favorite painting is always the next one. It's what gives me the high...all the possibilities are impending. I'll never live long enough to get all the images out I want to paint!
Thank you so much to Laura Tryon Jennings for this glimpse into her life and work. Be sure to stop by the gallery to see "Bedscapes & Beyond" before it closes on November 9th.