An Exercise in Tenderness

Artist: Jennifer Packer
painting | Oil on canvas | 240x180mm | 2017

“It’s not figures, not bodies, but humans I am painting,” Jennifer Packer says of her intimate, figurative portraits. Packer’s subjects are friends and family members, depicted in casual, candid poses that suggest both familiarity and affection. Often working on an individual painting over an extended period of time, Packer combines areas of thin washes and sweeping gestural brushstrokes, scraping away layers of paint as she works to withhold as much detail as she reveals. While Packer captures a sense of each sitter’s personality, she resists exposing them too fully to the viewer—a decision that communicates her desire to “present or protect humans in the work.” (Private collection. Image courtesy the artist; Corvi-Mora, London; and Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York. Photograph by Matt Grubb)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)