Jennie Smith
MFA in Visual Studies

Blessed with swift success, and barely out of MCAD, Jennie Smith knew what she needed next: more learning. Just a year past graduation she was selected for the prestigious 2006 Whitney Biennial; her work then grew from her sincere interest in lane, nature, and survival.

Her current work continues that fascination. As an MFA candidate at the University of California-Berkeley, Smith enjoys "a small intimate program," as she describes it, "where I'm [also] able to take courses in a wide array of disciplines." She's focused on the sea turtle, an ancient creature that's widely threatened. "The sea turtle mirrors the health of the world today," Smith explains, and so in her paintings the hexagons of a turtle's back provide a matrix for ambiguous scenes of humans falling through floors, or of natural forces threatening the built world.

Smith knows that animal imagery is at the heard of folklore and allegory. She aims to provide precise yet inconclusive details, so that her viewers might recognize their own meaning in scenes of possible destruction - she hopes for "a story with the possibility of being taken in a variety of directions." Smith adds that she's interested in "relationships we have with land and how our understanding or misunderstandings drastically alter boundaries - pushing out some, letting in others.