Artist: Jenny Cho
Exhibition: In Process
Media: Painting and Drawing
Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery
Jenny Cho is graduating student from the BFA Art and Drawing program here at CSULB. Before coming to CSULB, she was going to school at CSUF. Jenny was born In South Korea but moved when she was only 2 years old. A fun fact about Jenny is that she is 36 years old but barely looks a day over 21. She makes art about femininity, gender identity, and fine art vs craft.
Jenny doesn’t stick to just one medium, she uses all sorts of materials from paper mache to nylon. While all her work over lapped there were two major themes: gender identity and art vs craft. These two themes also had two different styles. Her pieces about femininity were bold and unique and included materials such as motherboards, nylon, wires, lipstick, and doll parts. Her pieces that explored craft mostly used paper strips, wood, and acrylic. One of Jenny’s goals is to induce the desire to touch her artwork. This was achieved by creating interactive pieces such as one that resembled a doll house, which she encouraged us to open. In addition, she had a piece covered in nylon which needed to be moved in order to view the painting behind.
To be honest, when I first saw Jenny’s work I didn’t completely know what they meant but they had a sort of gravitational pull; I didn’t know why I was attracted to them, I just was. After finding out Jenny was there at the exhibit she quickly gathered a following. “I feel so special, I’ve never had an audience to talk to about my artwork,” she said with a giggle. It was a very cool experience to view the artwork and form my own opinions and beliefs about it and then have the artist explain what they intended. The first thing I noticed about Jenny’s work was that is very feminine; I even commented that a few of the pieces were reminiscent of a vagina and after speaking with Jenny found out that my guess was correct. What I observed is that Jenny used what is typically positively associated with women and turned it “ugly,” the way society does with their attitude about women. For example, one of her pieces had flowers and pretty colors but it was arranged to look like vagina staring you in the face. In another piece, she used doll parts, makeup and lace to represent what a woman “should be” and had “SLUT” written across the back.
I believe what Jenny was trying to convey was the idea that society idealizes woman that are feminine, dainty, and girly and condemns women that are bold, flashy, and sexual. She added a disclaimer that that’s the way things were when she was young but these double standards still exist today. I know this because I have experienced this in my own life. Growing up I was a tomboy, the boisterous, dirty, rough housing one and as I grew older I learned that I had to conceal that because boys were threatened and deterred by it. Society taught me that acting to impress boys was my priority and that I would be “undesirable” if I didn’t change myself. Thankfully, I know better than that now, but it took some time to unlearn what society had bred into me. I saw these same feelings in Jenny’s work. Her feelings and opinions were relatable to me and that is why I gravitated to her work.
There is so much more I can say about Jenny and her work but for the sake of my blog I wrote only about my most favorite aspects. She made works about art vs craft, her heritage, and technology, as well. I would go on forever if I wrote about all her work because I have so much to say about it. Jenny is a wonderful woman and artist and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to talk to her about her work.