Jenna Leigh Rosenbloom
I grew up in the southernmost point in the continental United Sates, South Florida, yet it is the only part of the South East that is not considered “Southern” in a cultural sense. However, vestiges of that culture remain present and were reinforced during summers spent in North Carolina and through a family history with roots in Savannah, Georgia and New Orleans. I miss the hot, heavy air and the bright colors and the year-round flora. I miss the soul food and the specificity of and pride in the culture and I want to understand it’s often painful and often beautiful history.

My art is based in the desire to explore this, in part through my experience, in part through the experience of artists who have come before me. The writer Tennessee Williams described Southern Gothic as a style that captured “an intuition, of an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience.” Painting “an intuition” has proved to be a complicated and immensely difficult undertaking and I feel that I am only beginning to scratch the surface of the imagery available to me.

I look at my work and realize that it is increasingly honest about who I am as a person and a painter: I am struggling to reconcile my education and the refined tastes of my mother with my own gravitation toward kitsch and my father’s good ole boy ways. Additionally, I look at the objectification of women throughout the history of art: While I love so many great paintings that do just that, they simultaneously revile me. I hope to be able to depict female bodies in a way that is more than just not complicit, but actively rebelling against the idea of women’s bodies on display by men and for men. My goal is to be able to refine my skills as a painter and as a storyteller so that the paintings are imbued with the intuition that I want them to be.