“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth” are lines from a Rumi poem, a perspective on art and life, that for me has been long in the making. My lifelong relationship with beauty, I owe to my short-lived life with my mother in urban New Jersey. Art as Landscape has been my go to place for personal and social understanding for as long as I can remember. Rooted in those early years the questions and concerns my work raises today are no different in kind. Elaine Scarry’s notion, that beauty compels what she calls “replication, a begetting, the means by which we renew our search for truth and our concern for justice” resonates. And Dennis Dutton, reminds me of the aesthetic urge to find refuge and survival in landscape.
With James Elkins, I ask “whether or not landscape painting can still be practiced by people seriously engaged with the history of art, or if landscape has to find expression in various local and regional contexts?” Just as Dennis Cosgrove describes, I navigate landscape articulations with “an unalienated, insider’s apprehension of the land: of nature and the sense of place, together with a more critical, socially conscious, outsider’s perspective, a landscape way of seeing where landscapes are interpreted symbolically while maintaining respect for the everyday experience of landscape as the setting for life and work.” On reflection, I ask how landscape as ideology, the political—or landscape as phenomenology, the poetic resides in my work? How do my paintings unearth or bury over the substrata of power relations in art where landscape, since at least the late 19th century is gendered female and hence devalued? In what ways do the paintings call forth landscape as myth and memory? How do they construct and carry the spiritual and aesthetic, the beautiful and the sublime?
“Art is dream realized,” writes Wendy Steiner, “and this is why we value it—as an earnest that our dreams might be realized in life” renews my interest in Carl Jung and how it is my work articulates dreams imagined and fulfilled.
My greatest wish for you, is what poet Ted Hughes wanted for his work, that you come with the “imaginative attitude of a co-author—to enter as deeply and richly as possible, my imaginative worlds” to find your place within them so that you may know and occupy more fully the landscapes of your lives.
The daughter of Italian immigrants, Jennifer Pazienza was born in Newark, New Jersey. She began making art as a child in her mother’s kitchen. Recently retired art education professor from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, Dr. Pazienza, after years of navigating the demands of university work delights in being a full time painter! With her husband Gerry Clarke and their dog Mela, Becket is her home away from home. Jennifer has been exhibiting work in the Berkshires since 2014 with a solo show at Good Purpose Gallery, Lee, Massachusetts and group shows at St. Francis Gallery, Lee, Massachusetts and 510 Warren Street Gallery Hudson, New York. She regularly writes a column for The Artful Mind and has been featured in two significant interviews (Issues, November 2014 and September 2015).
Pazienza earned a BEd in art education at the then William Paterson College of NJ, a MEd in 1985 and a PhD in1989 in art education with minors in painting from the Pennsylvania State University. It was her painting professor, Afro-Native American Landscape painter Richard Mayhew, had the greatest influence on her artwork. In 1984 he suggested she ditch her tube of Payne’s Gray and tonal painting and switch to a colourist approach. She has been exploring the possibilities of a limited colourist palette ever since.
Jennifer has given scholarly papers on art, education and pedagogy at conferences in Canada, the US and Europe, has worked as a visual arts research consultant at the Getty Centre for the Arts in Education in the US, the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, and Canada. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, published articles and chapters in books while maintaining a studio and exhibition practice. In September 2015 she delivered Beautiful Dreamer: Landscape and Memory at Art & Psyche Sicily, an international conference dedicated to the life and work of Carl Jung for the closing plenary session. It was selected for publication on ARAS Connections: Image and Archetype 2016 Issue 3, and will be published in Italian for the Southern Italian Psychological Institute’s journal, Enkelados, the Journal of Analytic Psychology. She was awarded artist residencies at the Beaverbrook, New Brunswick’s Provincial Art Gallery and Artigianato del Sole in Misterbianco, Sicily.
Jennifer Pazienza’s work is held in Public, Private and Corporate Collections in the US, Italy and Canada.