Contemporary Artist Jennifer Jean Okumura Discusses Her New Work And Greatest Influences

2 min

Jennifer Jean grew up in Philadelphia and has been creating art for 15 years. She attended Syracuse University and received her MFA from Boston University. She is an artist who uses art to “speak conceptually and emotionally through color and texture.” For Jennifer, her art is a reflection of her dual Buddhist-Catholic heritage.

I think of art as an objective homage to my Eastern and Western traditions and to the raw architecture and sounds of the city—many hours exploring the 1300 Chestnut Street murals, sketching at the Rodin Museum, and sitting/drawing in the Arms and Armor room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, ” Jennifer comments about her work.

Jennifer is currently participating in the New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story” exhibition curated by Leslie Anne Condon, and organized and presented by Unbound Visual Arts.  “New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story” features forty artworks by twenty-five Boston-area Asian artists who are exploring aspects of their identity through their art, as well as Asian culture and narrative informed by personal experience. Jennifer’s featured work, Everyday Thoughts, is a solemn 38 x 50 oil on canvas piece. It is part of her new series “Knots of the mind” which explores the ongoing melee between the heart and the mind, complicated by love, hunger, power.

“In the NOW, provocative in a decorous way, optimistic—these terms characterize me as an Artist,” Jennifer states, “I believe art and its ability to elevate people are what inspire me every day. I like to add conflict, balance, and harmony to shape my work’s form and energy in my constant search for new noise and passion. Knots bind-like an embrace? As a restraint? Twisted strands of thought and feeling in our souls. Should we leap or remain motionless?”

Jennifer also participated in the “Modern Art vs Contemporary Concepts” Live set hosted by the Saphira and Ventura Gallery in September 2020. She showcased some of her work and discussed her greatest influences in art and life. This Live event streamlined into responding to a newer more complex world, contemporary art has a fundamental difference between modernism and its various aesthetics. The 21st century has unveiled new possibilities, new techniques, and new ideas where her works complement the 7 Artists in Contemporary Surroundings.

“I think that for all of us, our minds are always light-speeds ahead of our body and that is why I like to use a dark background on most of my work. I am drawn to darker colors. I do have my abstracts which can be more bright but my figures seem to tend towards being a little bit darker.”

Jennifer is also an Artist-in-Residence with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (COPA) Judge’s Chamber 2020-2023. Her first painting for the COPA ‘Arts in Court project’ will be unveiled in December 2020 with a ceremony as it will be hung in the first of eight Judges Chambers.

There are several exciting prospects ahead for Jennifer in the new year and beyond.  She will be showcasing her work at the Art & Activism at SoWa Art & Design District from October 27 to November 23, 2020, as well as the Vor Kunst at Van Der Plas Gallery from November 23 – December 2, 2020. 

She is also expected to attend the Artexpo New York Art Fair in April 2021, and the Barcelona 1.0 Art Metropole in May 2021

You can check out her website here

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