manifest international drawing annual 2007 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Heidi Jensen
Jacksonville Beach, FL

Clemson University, Associate Professor

page 68

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My work considers the subversive and insalubrious strains of human behavior that haunt the hopeful idea of a progressive, utopian society. Characters in the drawings are flawed and animalistic; they do not display heroic nor particularly hopeful visages. I use hybrid creatures to depict my subjects as confused, hapless and humorous, their bodies are often cumbersome and roly-poly. They become entangled with the perverse and take on the role of co-conspirator, sycophant or grudging participant. This mixture of features and forms references fictional worlds, such as Alice in Wonderland, where the accepted order of the physical world is remixed, where categories and taxonomies are disobeyed.

Alluding to cautionary tales, figures in my most recent drawings are often punished or rewarded. The actions leading to these moments are not revealed. Deprived of this other unseen narrative, the viewer is faced with the punitive or compensatory moment. The drawings examine the ways that reward, seduction, humiliation, and punishment are employed and exercised in order to produce desired behavior. I have an unabashed love of narrative structure and prefer to pepper it with dark humor. Particular drawings are constructed to look like a single frame animation still, offering an incomplete but compelling context.

Illustrative rendering, present in many drawings, recalls Victorian era illustration and the undercurrents of sentimentality and cruelty present in visual images of that era. Using representational space as a basic framework, volumetric contour lines are paired with flat, monochromatic surfaces. Carefully rendered figures
are peeled from the pages of art history and inject notes of spatial dislocation as they sit beside more
simplified, graphic forms.


born: 1973, Green Bay, WI


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999
University of Minnesota at Duluth, 1997

selected awards/honors

selected publications

selected solo or two-person exhibits


selected group shows

The Fine Art of Drawing, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee FL, August 2008
Animal Instincts: Allegory & Anthropomorphism, Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Athens GA 2007
Deviant Behavior, Artformz Gallery, Miami FL, 2007
The Unlikely Target, Redux Contemporary Art Center, Charleston SC, 2006

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