Jeni Spota: Don’t Tread on Me

Project Room 2 May 16–Aug 22, 2009

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Jeni Spota: Don’t Tread on Me
May 16–Aug 22, 2009





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Jeni Spota, Flag, 2008 (detail)

In her first West Coast museum exhibition, Jeni Spota brings contemporary elements to classical themes in her paintings, exploring traditional, often religious, imagery, in a new way. Through her small canvases, the viewer is able to peer into another world, watching epic scenes play out with a surreal, impressionistic twist.

In this exhibition, which includes new work, Spota fills her canvases with cramped figures engaged in frenzied activity, complete with choruses of angels, rows of haloed figures, and the Virgin floating, often repeatedly, in a mandorla, creating a heavy, purposeful yet intimate connection with the viewer that is rarely found in the Medieval and Renaissance pieces that her works recall. Other canvases are more abstract in their subject matter, as if she has cut and pasted detailed elements from her works to form a new composite. Don’t Tread on Me features a new bronze cast of her paintings, perfectly underscoring Spota’s attention to the construction of both narrative and surface.

Adopting the flattened pictorial space of medieval icons combined with the rich, globular application of paint, Spota creates an ecstatic, almost abstract surface through her brushstroke technique, in which paint is heaped on in indulgent, cake frosting-like daubs and layers.

Spota was born in New York and earned her B.F.A. at State University of New York at Purchase and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in Los Angeles.