JenMarie Zeleznak
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.