Jeanne Dunn + Sonja Schenk
Wander/Wonder features the work of two Los Angeles-based artists: Jeanne Dunn and Sonja Schenk. Both artists depict natural elements in their works that speak volumes about the wondrous and terrifying interconnectedness of humanity and our environment.
In paintings by Jeanne Dunn, the subject is monumental, awe-inspiring trees and forests. Both large-scale paintings are from her Tangle Tree Painting series, in which the artist writes “I use a paintbrush like a dowser uses a divining rod.” Using a lustrous color palette, her works create portals through which we can experience our natural environment e. Dunn’s trees feel like unique individuals who form connections with one another similar to human relationships. These connections are rendered in the way each trunk or branch bends towards one another and in the reaching out of their roots.
Although the work of Sonja Schenk similarly represents the artist’s intense engagement with the environment around her, these particular bodies of work investigate man-made structures unique to Los Angeles. Schenk’s inspiration for the suspended sculpture titled The End was imagining what kind of ruins would remain in the West once humanity is no longer on Earth. The paintings on view from the New Mountain series are at once serenely beautiful and unnerving–– the saturated hues of the skies hinting at the intense smog in the Southern California air.
In presenting the works of Jeanne Dunn and Sonja Schenk, Wander/Wonder inspires a deeper connection with the world around us, acknowledges the journey we’re all on together, and reminds us to be gentle with one another and with the Earth.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
My paintings use dynamic imagery to subvert common notions about nature. By employing painting, drawing, and collage, I create visual allegories about sharing space with, celebrating, and sustaining all forms of life on the planet. Having earned Art and Art Education degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and San Diego State University, San Diego, I taught in the School of Art and Design for 15 years at San Diego State before moving to Los Angeles in 2012. My love of hiking and camping in remote California locations as well as walking along the tree-lined streets in urban environments in many countries has inspired me to give visual voice to the arboreal giants we share the world with.
Sonja Schenk is a multi-disciplinary artist from Los Angeles. She began with video installations and has since turned to other types of installation, painting, and sculpture. Her work explores the intersection of humankind and the natural world through traditional, technological, and transformative processes. She exhibits both locally and internationally and she has created several large, site-specific installations. She has been artist-in-residence at two colleges and the U.S. National Park system. Influenced by early mentors Allan Kaprow, DeeDee Halleck, and Manny Farber, her work relies on a strong grounding in conceptual thought that is then translated to various media.
ART UPFRONT COORDINATOR
Stephanie Sherwood is an artist and curator living in Los Angeles. Her curatorial projects have been on view at the Torrance Art Museum, Durden and Ray, Finishing Concepts, LTAC Studio and Angels Gate Cultural Center among others. Her artwork has been shown internationally and in the United States, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, LA Artcore, The Brand Library and Art Center and DAC Gallery. Sherwood’s work and curatorial projects have been included in several publications including Artillery, Art and Cake, ArtHabens Contemporary Art Review, LA Weekly, Murze Magazine and Voyage LA.
ArtUpfront is made possible through generous support of Z. Clark Branson.