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Jennifer Packer: Quality of Life

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present Quality of Life, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jennifer Packer. This is Packer’s second solo show at Sikkema Jenkins.

Packer’s painted figures and still lifes are exceptional for their expressive fields of color, worked tenderly by the artist’s hand. They are images made with the utmost care–for the subject, and for the artist herself.

Packer’s subjects are often friends and family, loved ones who serve as an emotive force in her life. Her representations critique the positionality, autonomy and power of the marginalized subject. Her work intends to address the primacy of the gaze within painting as a locus for accountability and representation. In Packer’s work, distinct features fade against the color of their environment, creating a protective distance between the direct gaze of the viewer and the subject’s interiority.

The floral still lifes echo the same fragility and tenderness of life expressed in her portraits. Situated within the historical tradition of still life painting, Packer’s floral images are concerned chiefly with painting as a language for the transmission of information through touch; a delicate working of the painted medium in response to loss and trauma. Packer’s flowers serve as an act of grief, commemoration, and healing.

Born in 1984 in Philadelphia, Jennifer Packer received her BFA from the Tyler University School of Art at Temple University in 2007, and her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2012. She was the 2012-2013 Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and a Visual Arts Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, from 2014-2016.

Jennifer Packer’s first solo museum show, Tenderheaded, was exhibited at The Renaissance Society, Chicago in September 2017 before traveling to the Rose Museum at Brandeis University in March 2018. The catalogue that accompanied the exhibition includes a conversation between Packer and Kerry James Marshall, essays by Jessica Bell Brown and April Freely, a poem by Safiya Sinclair, and an introduction by curator Solveig Øvstebø.

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