Artist File

July 21, 2023

Artist Spotlight: See Jen Mann’s Colorful Work

In our Artist File column, art advisor Diana Hamm of WK ART shares the artists that have caught her eye.

Jenn Mann’s high-concept work explores identity, critiquing how we “sell” ourselves in today’s consumerist society.

The Artist: Jen Mann’s body of work explores the self and our obsession with how we present ourselves to the world. While the self-portrait has been a mainstay in art since the dawn of time and has evolved over the years (think Egyptian wall paintings to Rembrandt to Warhol), Jen’s interest lies in how we brand ourselves — a consumerist approach to both expressing ourselves and relating to other people. Her work is clever and multifaceted, including photography, painting, music video and sculpture. She draws viewers in with slick, beautiful surfaces and then surprises them with something deeper and darker in the underlayers.

The Works: The paintings themselves are beautiful and mostly self-portraiture. She paints
in a hyperrealist manner, starting with photography, then working off the photos to achieve the desired effect in paint. Color becomes a means of disrupting the realism: “Using color in the work takes it out of the everyday,” says Jen. “It’s now an unreal place, and using crazy colors helps people look at an image and see that it’s not part of the real world.”

Author: Diana Hamm

Photography by Adam Moco (Diana’s portrait)/courtesy of Jen Mann (Jen’s portrait, art)