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Jen Mann: Transfigurative Power of Neon Portraits

Playfulness & Intimacy

Individuality is a concept that, when mentioned, generates more questions than affirmations: What is the individual? To what extent is it permeable in its relationship with others? What are the limits between the self and the other? Jen Mann, born and settled in Canada, explores with her visual works, the limits between the individual and society in the contemporary world.

"Obsession IV" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2018
"Obsession I" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2017

Starting from photographic portraits, made by herself, Jen works the images with the post-production software, reinterpreting and expressing her personal impression on them. Using color as a language, Jen works with intense palettes of contrasting and neon tones, reiterating the influence of modernity on the individual and, in turn, extrapolating it to the virtual world, since it is impossible to elucidate whether the context of its characters are day or night or even if they are in a closed or open space.

"How Am I Not Myself" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2014

Neon In Love

Mann’s work could be associated with a reinterpretation of the Surrealist and Dadaist avant-garde movements of the beginning of the 20th century, where the conscious state of the authors has been set aside, and their unconsciousness takes over the mechanicals in the creation of the art. Jennifer does the same, leaving her unconscious perception of modernity and virtuality by transfiguring the portraits and exploring the virtual world, the one that emerges from the digital and analog pictorial techniques that Mann uses.

"Men Are From Mars, Women Are Your Venus" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2016

After the digital processing of the images, Jen proceeds to paint them in large formats on canvas, where a new transfiguration arises, representing a moment of reality, capturing with its colors the vision of contemporaneity and embodying all this with remnants of her inner world with manual techniques, refuting the impersonal that emanates from the artificial construct that provides the virtuality over the individual.

"Wall Flower" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2014
"Cult Of Femininity" by Jen Mann, oil on canvas, 2016

In her most recent work, which is currently exhibited in Toronto, Jen Mann continues to explore the boundaries of identity in a more intimate and personal way. What’s interesting is a series of portraits of her and her partner intervened with the phrase “You are not me, you are not mine, but somehow we are one“, which invites a question about the edge that defines the limits and position of the individual in relationship with other human beings.

All images copyright of Jen Mann.

You can view more work by Jen on her Instagram and website.

Article written by Anamaria Aguirre Chourio

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