Jenie Gao
  628 E Dayton, Apt 17
Madison, Wisconsin 53703
United States
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  (314) 757-4352
What is your connection to UW-Madison Continuing Studies? (Choose all that apply)

  • Friend of employee

Please supply some detail about your connection to UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
  I've been long-term friends with several faculty members and students. The faculty I'm friends with include John Hitchcock, whom I've known for several years, ever since we first participated in a steamroller block printing event together in Milwaukee. I've shown with Emily Arthur at Var Gallery, as well as Barry Carlsen as a part of the Vox Populi Print Collective, and I know Faisal Abdu'Allah through Arts + Literature Laboratory, the Madison Arts Commission, and various events around the city. I've been friends with a number of alumni for years, including Tyanna Buie and Doug Bosley, and work with current grad students Simone and Max as curators at Arts + Literature Laboratory. I have many overlaps with the UW-Madison network and the artists and arts professionals at the university have been a big part of my arts community since I've lived in Wisconsin.
Dislay period choice

  • October-November 2018
  • December 2018 – January 2019
  • February-March 2019

Artist's Statement
  My artwork is a teaching tool. It challenges existing perspectives and encourages new conversations. In a world saturated with advertisements that cause us to tune out, art gives us the power to create what we consume and to see with new eyes and insights.

My artwork is allegorical and illustrative, like a modern day Aesop. I tell stories of modern dilemmas, and the health of our human relationships, economies, and cultures by paralleling them with nature-made ecosystems. Animals and natural environments become the actors and stage for understanding moral qualms. Hybrid “gundogs” with guns for heads fight for relevance and pedigree. Angels and harpies that are only distinguishable by name engage in civil war. My drawings emphasize exactness, detail, and high contrast. The world is black and white, then selectively colored, regardless of the nuances of the characters and environments they play within. Something about the permanence of ink feels decisive and immutable, though ink is fluid and the images morphing and merging.

The weight of the artwork transforms the spaces that it becomes a part of. This is not artwork designed to match the couch and fade in with the other decorations. This is artwork that demands to have a presence in the room, to be recognized and included in the conversation. The purpose of this work is to get us to think more critically of how we judge the world around us, by making us aware of the ways in which we successfully coexist with or conflict with others. There is something old and retold about the stories in my work, yet made new and different. There are feelings and problems that every generation understands deeply. And so, with each generation, there are also opportunities for familiar players and characters to meet again and create new stories together.

What is your primary medium?
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