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MFA Candidate: Studio Arts

Eric is a second year graduate student, currently focusing on landscape painting.

“I paint to discover the reality of nature and to celebrate its complexity of form and meaning. In my practice I combine studio work with field observations I obtain while traversing the land. I walk through nature both looking and thinking, potentially discovering moments of understanding and presence. Lighting, plant life, geomorphology, color, and composition interact with my internal experience while the place that I am perceiving builds meaning. My practice both supplements and challenges the genre of landscape painting as I wish to push it into new realms. Historic depictions of landscape are often saturated with ideas of ownership, divine right, and imperialism. I wish to reverse this pattern, but I am also heavily influenced by the beauty embodied in those landscapes. In my work, I seek a balance between representation and abstraction, both within single works or throughout a body of work. Where I land on this scale depends on the subject as I attempt to allow the landscape to create its own voice in my paintings. The resulting images are certainly derived from nature, however it is not always clear what they are representing. I want to both reinforce and challenge our relationship with landscape, the representational elements are an anchor while the abstractions resist traditional interpretations.”

Eric’s research is focused around landscape relationships, rituals, and empirical understanding. He is studying traditional ecological knowledge, religious ceremonies, and is collaborating with scientists to better understand subject matter like old growth forests. Eric has also started a science and art collaborative initiative on campus with Dr. Diana Six that seeks to bring together different fields of interest to promote communication and understanding of the current climate crisis.Eric Jensen is an abstract landscape painter with a passion for environmental conservation. His practice is built out of a contemporary art education and many backcountry expeditions that are informed by experiences living in both rural western settings and liberal east coast cities. These influences have culminated in an interest to unify different areas of learning, like science, spirituality, and art, in order to empower ecological preservation efforts and establish cultural values. He has formed a landscape painting practice that looks critically at the way our society perceives the land and is working to unify his practice with environmental conservation efforts.

MFA Graduate Student with a focus on painting.