There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.
JASON PATRICK JENKINS (b. 1979) is a standout graduate of Philadelphia’s Studio Incamminati now teaching in that school’s advanced and continuing education programs. Beyond contributing to the realist community through teaching and painting, he is an observant commentator on contemporary times — one who hopes to bring humanism back to his digitally oversaturated generation.
“Despite our interconnectivity, we are so disconnected that we have lost sight of much in the face of temporal chaos,” Jenkins observes. “Beneath the journey of our daily lives there are the same underlying, unifying, timeless truths of human experience: courage, compassion, empathy, perseverance, justice, mortality, and legacy. I want to use art to awaken sensitivity in a generation that has been dulled by apathy, nihilism, and desensitization. Great art can provide transcendence, clarity of vision, and a sense of purpose.”
To that end, Jenkins creates each painting with intention and purpose, plumbing the depths of his own feelings and intelligence to imbue it with thought-provoking content. An antidote to the cursory glances that online imagery fosters, Jenkins’s paintings reward us for taking a longer look, as there is much to be uncovered here.
In “Hindsight” (shown at top), for instance, our immediate thought might be that this is a memento mori in the classical tradition, a reminder of the frailty and brevity of life. Looking closer at its symbols — blue tape on the skull, dice, a billiard ball, and an overturned crate with the word plastic — we are asked to go beyond our initial assumptions and ponder the deeper meaning of Jenkins’s message, which seems to be about not only the passage of time but also the chances we take and the aspects of life we do and do not have control over.
Jenkins has resided in Philadelphia for the last six years. Previously he lived in South Korea and in Canada, where he earned a B.F.A. from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He supplemented that training by teaching himself glazing, alla prima painting, and the Dutch/Flemish method, and ultimately earned a fellowship at the conclusion of four years’ study at Studio Incamminati. Today Jenkins travels the world, sharing his observations through paintings made in a contemporary classical realist style.
Jenkins is represented by Gallery Gora (Montreal). Visit his website at jasonpatrickjenkins.com.