JenMarie Zeleznak


JenMarie Zeleznak received her M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design and her B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art. She is an Adjunct Professor at Lakeland Community College and Lake Erie College in Northeast Ohio. In 2013, her works were featured in Animatopoeia, A Post Modern Bestiary at the Cleveland State University Art Gallery and were included in Studio Visit Magazine, Volume 17. JenMarie's work is concerned with spiritual, social and emotionally driven experiences, proclaiming the animal as autonomous and self-referential, but also as an emblem of the human condition. JenMarie lives and works at the Tower Press Building in Cleveland, Ohio.

As humans we have a need and desire for intimacy and connection with others. We have a need to find relatability, relationships and connections in the other through mind and body. I feel a strong need for physical and emotional intimacy with my process and subject. Anxious scribbles and mark-making hastily fill in the animal form, over and over. In its finished state, layers of gradients and nuances of color are blended together like a color-field embodied within a form. I meditate in these moments. I work with watercolor pencils in both a sensitive and crude manner, using hands and fingers to manipulate the material onto paper. This personal and direct connection, much like caressing or grooming an animal, gives me the intimacy I need in the work as I bring the animal into being. This intimacy is both constructive and destructive, laced equally with desire and fear, presence and absence. Drawing becomes a place for intimacy that allows for 'touching' the subject when actual touch is at once desired and daunting.

I seek to create a duality in the work through unconventional representations that induce an empathetic response for both the animal's condition of being and the human condition. I seek, and more importantly need, an unspoken feeling in the images I create that deeply move me. To be moved by something is an intuitive response, a pure feeling, and the perceptual ability to know without knowing how you know. That immediate feeling of being moved is a conscious expression in the present moment, the innermost space between thinking and being, and the place I can only hope my works exist for the viewer.