Jen Unekis



The Spaces Between by Jen Unekis

Jen Unekis (American, b. 1964)

The Spaces Between, 2016

Latex, acrylic, graphite and wax pigments on Venetian plasterboard with layered painted surfaces

24 1/2 x 48 1/2 x 3 in

 


Many Happy Returns by Jen Unekis

Jen Unekis (American, b. 1964)

Many Happy Returns, 2016

Latex, acrylic, graphite and wax pigments on Venetian plasterboard with layered painted surfaces

24 x 28 x 3 in

 


Viable Impulses by Jen Unekis

Jen Unekis (American, b. 1964)

Viable Impulses, 2016

Latex, acrylic, graphite and wax pigments on Venetian plasterboard with layered painted surfaces

24 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 3 in

 

Jen Unekis creates abstract compositions using multiple mediums. Latex and acrylic paints make up the chartreuse and yellow atmosphere that unifies the three paintings in the Capitol Federal Hall collection. Darker brushstrokes of greens and grays add depth and texture, while the black marks created with a wax pencil conjure biomorphic shapes. Unekis’s work, like that of the famous late American painter Cy Twombly, evokes the freedom and spontaneity of a child’s drawing. Irregular bands of light blue lead the viewer around the compositions. The Spaces Between and Many Happy Returns suggest details of maps, with the blue lines representing roadways. The principal blue motif of Viable Impulses recalls the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis. Like the black biomorphic shapes, the blue bands and curves elude a definitive association, creating an oscillating interpretation for the viewer. Unekis disrupts the serene background with bold black marks and intersects the blue bands with solid black rectangles. Small uniform perforations created using spoked patterning wheel add texture and orderliness to the irregularity found throughout the composition. Unekis challenges viewers through her sensitive handling of color and the tension created between shapes, line, and color producing rich aesthetic complexity.

Biography

Born in Southern California, Jen Unekis spent her early years living in sunshine and citrus trees until the age of four when her family relocated to Kansas. In 1983, she moved to Lawrence and studied art at the University of Kansas, focusing on design and ceramics. Her work has received multiple awards, including Best in Show for the 2018 Prairie Village Art Fair and Grand Prize winner at Art Westport in 2013. Her work resides in numerous private collections both inside and outside the U.S.

— Megan Seiler, MA student in art history at the University of Kansas, April 2019

KU School of Business Art Collection