"Begin Again" by JenMarie Zeleznak

“Begin Again”

Watercolor pencil on paper

40 x 30 in.

Opening Bid: $5600

About JenMarie Zeleznak:

JenMarie Zeleznak was born in 1984 in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and her BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art. JenMarie Zeleznak currently teaches at Lakeland Community College, Youngstown State University, and the University of Akron in Ohio.

Artist Statement:

My work is introspective, concerned with emotional and spiritual experience. The animals I depict are a medium for the expression of the self, yet they retain their own autonomy, embodying gestures that convey emotional form and are signposts of a kind, indicating shared aspects of being. The pictorial space here isn’t the natural world, but an in-between place – the innermost space between thinking and being. There is serenity in surrendering to an external force, suspended somewhere between despair and reconciliation.

I need to establish physical and emotional intimacy with my process and subjects. Anxious mark making fills in my animal forms, as layers of gradients and nuances of color blend together. I meditate in these moments. I work with watercolor pencils in a manner both sensitive and crude, using my saliva and sweat, hands and fingers to manipulate the material onto paper. This personal and direct connection, much like caressing or grooming an animal, gives me the intimacy I need in the work as I bring the animal into being, inducing an empathetic response.

The angular line drawings that accompany the animals I refer to as star maps. They are connections of stars from NASA imagery. Usually when I begin a drawing, I have a general sense of the placement of the star map. I am very inspired by science, and the energy of the stars and the moon on a clear night. Much of my sense of spirituality revolves around the notion of energy distributed and transferred in the Universe. I experienced a spiritual awakening in 2013 that changed my perception of the world around me. I began to feel energy and almost see it manifested within the interactions of everything around me. I felt so deeply connected to everything. The Universe became my source of love, protection, and guidance. The star maps serve as a visual for the invisible energy that is felt, but not seen, by the animal subject. As a viewer, we are onlookers of someone else experiencing something deeply or going through an emotional moment. We can see how the energy affects them. The star maps serve different functions depending on the animal’s gesture. Sometimes it’s protecting them or shielding them, but it also might seem as though it’s cradling them or supporting them. Sometimes the star maps are fragmented, indicating perhaps a loss or lack of something, while other times the star map might seem fluid and graceful, suggesting a moment of clarity and feeling whole. The star maps tend to complement or echo the thoughts and feelings of the subjects.

Western Visions® is the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s largest and longest running fundraiser, with a variety of exciting events. The show features a wide selection of art for sale. Western Visions® painters and sculptors participate in the art portion of the show and sale and as many as 2,000 people attend the events.

Read more about JenMarie at https://www.wildlifeart.org/artists/jenmarie-zeleznak/

Read more about Western Visions® at https://www.wildlifeart.org/western-visions/about-western-visions

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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