Saranac Lake artist Jenny Curtis prepares for her first solo exhibition, which takes place at ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh until Thursday, Jan. 10.
Photo by Shaun Kittle.
PLATTSBURGH — For local artist Jenny Curtis, it all begins with nature.
She finds inspiration all around her, from the forests that surround her home in Saranac Lake to the spot along the Jackrabbit Ski Trail in the Eastern High Peaks where the red pines stand tall and thin.
“I get a lot of inspiration from nature and organic forms,” Curtis said. “Right now I’m really obsessed with how organic forms repeat in nature, everywhere in everything. I think about it all the time.”
Lately, those repeating patterns have inspired such paintings as “Baby Teeth,” a turbulent array of colors and patterns all transposed according to an unwritten, abstract theme.
A wild range of reds holds the piece together, with yellows, blues and black punctuating them, and in the upper left corner, what appears to be a mouth holds a set of small teeth.
One tooth appears to have escaped, and is connected to the orifice via a thin, wavy line.
But then again, maybe the tooth didn’t become free of the mouth, maybe that’s how the mouth acquires new teeth.
Or maybe that isn’t even a mouth at all.
While some artists strive, and sometimes fail, to instill a direct sense of meaning into their work, Curtis prefers to leave that up to the viewer.
“I like to hear what other people have to say about my work,” Curtis said. “I’ve learned a lot about my paintings by listening to others.”
Her newer pieces, like “Baby Teeth,” and one she simply refers to as “The Big One,” reflect a less-direct, almost stream-of-consciousness approach to painting, while her older work seems to be more pointed.
Painting isn’t the only medium she employs, either.
One of Curtis’ sculptures, “The Horse,” is just that—a paper sculpture of a horse.
But it isn’t just a horse. The animal’s back is bent to give the entire piece a circular look, and there are yarn and polymer-forged intestines dangling from its belly.