Placement: Jenny Brillhart

January 20 – April 21, 2023


Maine-based painter Jenny Brillhart explores value and form through light and shadow in her exhibition Placement. The showcased works highlight still life constructions that the artist creates in studio as a way of collaborating with the passage of time through a multi-layered process. With a fondness for objects, whether recognizable chairs or less identifiable building materials, the artist’s arrangement of these items and the perspective from which she paints them creates new imagery. Using a subtle palette of chromatic grays and blues with injections of blush, rose and ochre, the artist uses the arrangements as a way of interacting with space and light. Through the use of oil, Brillhart manipulates the substrate with carefully considered marks, mixing and layering to create austere and serene vignettes.   

“Process is the part I’m most interested in, but product or outcome is inevitable,” Brillhart explains. The exhibition at the Zillman Art Museum has provided her with the opportunity to show a body of work that offers a glimpse of that process and use of materials. In particular, the paintings in ZAM’s Deighan Porter gallery offer a time-lapse sequence of the same studio wall, over time the light interacts with shadows to generate variation in the objects. Recording the light as it moves over these installations is an undertaking in documentation, a productive way of watching time move. The artist describes these scenes as “temporary, low drama set-ups,” that she creates, “with the purposeful inclusion of the often overlooked but ever-present floor, wall, gravity, light and shadow.”  


Painting of a red chair behind a white table    

Left: JENNY BRILLHART (American, born 1972). Vinyl cusion 4:32pm, late summer, 2022. Oil on aluminum. Courtesy of the artist & Dowling Walsh Gallery.

Right: JENNY BRILLHART (American, born 1972). Rounded corners, 3:50pm, 10/7, 2022. Oil on Yupo paper. Courtesy of the artist & Dowling Walsh Gallery.