Monday, June 8, 2009
What is the common ground between Dostoyevsky, cheerleaders and San Diego's East County? Photographer Glenna Jennings. An exhibit featuring Jennings' latest body of work, titled Raskolnikov, is currently on view at Luis De Jesus Seminal Projects.
All of Jennings' images feature a familiar object – a cheerleader's skirt – in very unlikely contexts. You see it on the body of girl hiding under a desk in a junk-strewn front yard. You see it on the body of an older woman (Jennings' grandmother) and then on a young man who appears to be in the act of seduction. All of these subjects are actually wearing the same skirt, which belongs to Jennings, a former high school cheerleader at Granite Hills High School in East County.
Jennings says she's interested in the idea that portraiture can also be still life, which is part of reason you don't see any of the subjects' faces. Instead you focus on the bodies of her 13 subjects, with all of their different textures and age-markers. All of the titles come from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, which Jennings read in high school and which fueled her own girlish crush on Raskolnikov, the novel's brooding protagonist. Jennings says she went on to date a series of Raskolnikov characters throughout her high school years.
Jennings has also written a novella called Granite in which she's reimagined Crime and Punishment from the semi-comedic viewpoint of a high school cheerleader and her meth-addicted boyfriend. The images in the exhibit are not meant to illustrate her novella, but rather they are part of the same broad, imaginative landscape.
Raskolnikov is on view through June 13th at Luis De Jesus Seminal Projects. On Friday, June 12th, Jennings will be at the gallery reading from Granite. That closing reception is from 6-8pm. You can talk with Jennings about her work, which has lots of interesting conceptual layers to it.