Jennifer Rosengarten: Gardens & Ponds (Deer Gallery)

Apr 22, 2017-Jan 7, 2018 Yellow Springs, Ohio artist Jennifer Rosengarten uses images of the natural world as inspiration for her large scale, immersive paintings. You can see flowers, tall grasses, lily pads and water but when you look more closely it’s the way she has painted them that draws you in. The jagged brushstrokes of paint she applies in varying thicknesses are mixed with scraped up layers of paint. She uses bold colors to create depth and shadows. Look at how dashes of bright yellow make you notice the darker purples and blues, and how many thin layers of paint build up to create mysterious depths.

The paintings in Gardens & Ponds challenge us to look beneath the paintings’ appealing surfaces. The paintings show us peaceful quiet places but if you look closely there is a sense of struggle in them. Rosengarten uses the battle between light and dark colors and strong lines against bold shapes to represent the constant struggle of survival in the natural world.

Rosengarten’s work builds upon the tradition of Romanticism. Romanticism was a popular way to view the world in the 1800s. It grew out of an opposition to the wealthy, intellectuals, and industrialists. Artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers wanted their work to show emotions and highlight individual experiences and feelings. This led to a sense of devotion towards the natural world, and paintings of sweeping mountain views and rustic landscapes became popular. To see examples of work from the Romantic Era, look at the paintings in Point of View on exhibit in the Quinlan Gallery.

Rosengarten follows many of the themes of the Romantics but by painting close up views of ponds and rootless flowers she does not celebrate the awe of the natural world in the same way. Instead, she creates her own interpretation of the natural world and relates it back to individual experience. The result is complex paintings with layered meaning that allow us to relate to them in different, personal ways.