In her exhibition An Extra Space, Jenny Brillhart is showing, for the first time, pieces from three different groups of works. Known for her painting, she is now turning to other media such as object collage and photography in order to crack open, transform and sometimes also to expand upon ideas and pictorial concepts. Brillhart’s central artistic interests remain unchanged, however. Texture, color, abstraction, surface, material and space appear in a surprising manner in every one of her new works; and even though they employ very different media at times, they all explore An Extra Space.
The paintings executed on unprimed canvas are more fragmented and abstract than those in her Saxony Hotel series dating from 2008. Unpainted parts of the canvas surround the painted parts like a frame. They are lending the works an object-like and, indeed, rough quality in the way they are fixed to the wall. The viewer searches for clues to identify the motif, experiences moments of recognition, yet remains unable to form a clear judgement. Variations in texture appear, but not only in the painted surfaces: for it is precisely the margins, edges and corners that reveal layers and shifts.
Her works in the Shelf Series are object collages – neither reliefs, nor paintings, nor assemblages, nor ready mades. A flat wooden frame (shelf) with a rear wall serves as the basis of these works, creating a border and boundary between natural and fantastic space. The shelf contains fragments of all kinds of materials, including bits of wood, paper, small paintings, copies and found objects. These are all subject to a strict order and have a clearly defined position in the shelf’s structure, causing the surface and the space to alternate here, too, and creating varying shades of abstraction and cracks in the texture. Viewed from a certain distance, the multipartite collage becomes a pure object.
With her photographic works, Jenny Brillhart is entering what is, for her, unchartered territory. Although she has always used photography as a source and tool in the painting process, the works she has now created must be regarded as an independent medium. Brillhart uses the pictorial concepts of collage in her photographic work, too. Aluminum supports the works on which the digital image is printed, which is, in fact, a mixture of photography, painting and digital processing. Her works create a powerful spatial impression, intensified by their presentation on two nails embedded in the wall and underscoring the objectness of this group of works, too.