Artist: Jenny Cho
Exhibition: In Process
Media: Painting and Drawing
Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery
Jenny Cho was a transfer student from Fullerton College who is currently working towards her BFA in the Drawing and Painting program. Most of her work explores femininity and reflects on how society shies away from the different and unique. Her portion of the exhibit started by exploring gender identity, then shifted to a self portrait of herself and pieces that represented her cultural background. Each piece had its own special characteristics that related to the last, but made sure to identify itself in a specific way, causing a sense of surprise with each piece of art.
Jenny explained how she never really uses one specific material when creating her art. Some of the common ones were things like nylon, acrylic, and even paper mache. The texture of each piece was never the same as the last, but when looking at them, I was overcome with a sense of touch. Jenny explained that she intentionally wanted her audience to gain an instant sense of feeling when looking at her art. One piece from her self portrait had little hair-like structures sticking out, making the audience want to see what it felt like. When she was describing her art, she emphasized that the process of making each one was more important to her than the final product. The end product may be exactly what she was expecting or could be, as she described it, “beautifully ugly”.
All of her pieces have a sense of feminism to them, invoking a ‘girly’ feeling while looking at each of the pieces. The most memorable piece for me was a piece titled ‘Can you see him?’. Behind a thick layer of nylon, barely noticeable, is a fairytale story, one that would most likely be read by little girls. However, Jenny changed all of the pronouns to the opposite gender, for example instead of mother it was father and so on. Jenny explained that this piece is meant to show how a little boy would read this story and try to relate to it, like a little girl would imagine themselves as the princess. Except, instead of embracing his true feelings, he hides it away behind all of the nylon in order to be what society expects of him. Another piece of hers, titled ‘Neat, Clean, Dainty, Charming’, was a little paper mache ball with the word ‘SLUT’ written on the back. This piece was meant to show how girls will follow society’s standards for women, but if you are branded with the word ‘SLUT’, you were automatically outcasted by your peers. Most of Jenny’s pieces demonstrates how society rejects those that don’t conform to the norms.
When walking through Jenny’s exhibition, I was a little confused as to what they all meant and to be entirely honest I touched a few of them, without knowing that this was her intention. But, once she started to explain what they all meant, I immediately knew that I had to write my blog on her pieces. All of her pieces served as a reminder that we don’t always have to be what other people want us to be. For example, I chose to change my major to psychology from biology, and it immediately caused tension between myself and my mom. However, I learned that this is my life and, regardless of what my mother was expecting from me, I knew that I had to stay true to myself and do what made me happy. Jenny’s work ensured me that society shouldn’t be the determining factor in our lives, but instead we should make important life decisions with our own selves as the priority.