Jennifer Carwile Artist Statement
During high school I had an art teacher who I really admired. She explained how, in order to receive her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, she had to develop a new type of pottery. That conversation planted the belief in my mind that in order to be a true artist, one must develop “something new”. That idea dictated my direction as a college student and has stayed with me as journey on as an artist. One might say that there are “no new ideas,” but as a process oriented artist , I have spent my time and efforts to develop unique ways to use media to come up with my “something new”.
My current series of paintings are created using chemical reactions, based on the repulsion of oil and water, to manipulate the oil paint. I noticed that interesting effects occurred when I accidentally introduced mineral spirits into the paint layer that was initially thinned with turpentine. The paint moved around the painting surface as a result of different surface tension and formed appealing organic shapes and textures. From this point of discovery, I experimented with various chemicals and develpoed a method of using some basic chemical reactions to manipulate the paint rather than using a brush. The resulting series, which I call Alchemy as an homage to scientists who attempted to create gold by mixing chemicals, has evolved into paintings that suggest organic shapes, layers, and textures created by forces of nature.
Water and fire are the subject matters that have appeared in my work most often. While both are essential to life, they also have the capacity to be extremely destructive. They can be beautiful and awesome and awful all at the same time. While so destructive, floods and fire are part of the natural process- an essential part of renewal and growth. In my work I investigate the delicate balance between the beauty and strength of nature and how it nature rebounds, often in spite of our efforts.