By Contributing Editor Jennifer Rose Bonilla-Edgington
Jenna Gribbon presents her first solo show, When I Looked At You The Light Changed at the Fredricks & Freiser Gallery. Gribbon’s paintings vary from size, style and over all mood. There are two main bodies of work within the show that both touch on intimate and personal memories and historical practices such as wrestling. In her wrestling pieces, which is a node to ancient Greek wrestling, touches on both sexuality and masculinity. Gribbon puts herself along with her kinship in these moments of intertwining, in the nude or seminude, power struggle acts of wrestling. In her piece, Waffle House at night wrestlers (2019) depicts one partially nude female and one completely nude with hands and knees placed upon the floor. The female standing above the completely nude female is pulling the hair of the female below. The female standing above with her breasts out and legs straddling the back of the female below has an air of dominance while the female on the floor has a smile upon her face, compliant the act whether for fun or pleasurable. It’s hard not to relate these works to erotic imagery or sadomasochisms fantasies. Just as there was an erotic stance within Greek wrestling by being in the nude and engaging in a tussle for momentary power the same can be seen within Gribbon’s works as well. The base content is different, having nude females instead of males but the sexuality in nature, the fight for control done in almost arrogant testosterone driven way is there.
There are shifts within the show from sexuality, dominance, intimacy and memory. In her piece titled, Tenderness and Trust (2019) there is an embrace of lovers head in hand. The primary focus is the personal moment shared by two individuals. The piece though radiant in color and movement evokes a stillness and focus on the vulnerability of love. Gribbon’s painting,
Sand in her shoe (2019) has a mystical element to it. The memory of that moment appears to be one of magic. The planks of wood on which the female figure stands curves with the movement in the night sky. The female hits out her shoe jolting the sand, falling like fine glistening atoms adding to the atmosphere of the dream like state. The foliage overgrown and encompassing, highlighted by an unidentified light source. Like a memory, key elements are sharp while the background landscapes are hazier.
Jenna Gribbon’s show takes the viewer in and out of her life moments and daydreams, allowing the viewer to get lost in theirs as well. The show questions the roles of dominancy, the comfortability of sexuality and the childlike nature of simple summer days.