Artist: Jennifer Chen
Media: Printmaking, Digital Print, Google Images
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Jennifer Chen is in her final semester of the CSULB Master of Fine Arts Program and she also has a bachelor’s degree for biology.She said that she lives in the moment for the most part which is why she made the switch to the arts. I feel a personal connection with her story because I was actually a biology major for a time and then I switched to Film and Electronic Arts. She is planning to teach a class next semester on the introduction to print making which she is really excited for.
Jennifer’s work in this exhibit consists of her using Google Maps to print images of several different landscapes. She then adds depth to the images by painting over trees or whatever else she feels needs to pop out. In one image, she used Photoshop to cover up certain areas with pink squares while leaving the natural terrain alone. Upon looking closely at her work, I saw that some areas quite literally had more depth to them. The material had bumps and grooves all over the place. There were also labels on the bottom left showing how she took the images from Google.
Before listening to Jennifer talk about her own work, I immediately received the impression that she was trying to convey a certain message with her work. That message was about the amount of human intervention we have with our environment. In one of her works, I saw that all of the trees and natural life seemed distorted and looked rather awkward compared to the urban areas surrounding them. This gave me the impression that we as a society, especially native Los Angelites, have been ignoring most of the natural aspects of our environment. We’ve become so used to the urban sprawl that we forget that hundreds of years ago, the land that we are living on didn’t have streets or houses.
Whenever I think about how little of the natural world is actually left around me, it scares me. I enjoy looking at art that scares me though because I feel that if I’m getting this feeling from it, then at least there’s someone else out there who is receiving the same message. All art should have a message or a purpose and I really enjoyed looking at Jennifer’s art that conveyed an important message about the environment.