Jennifer Davis, Cover Artist June 2014

My usual mode of working is very spontaneous and intuitive. The narrative quality of each painting becomes apparent during the process of drawing, layering colors, sanding, and scraping. Through my portraits of people, animals, objects, and landscapes, I explore an imagined, fantastical universe of strange planets, transmuted species, and surreal situations.

My work is a study in contrasts — the juxtaposition of varying textures and patterns, the play between bursts of bold color and intricately drawn details and line work, and the balance between playful humor and an undercurrent of darker, more mysterious emotions. The compositions are often graphic in nature but also favor quavery pencil lines and messy brushstrokes that invoke a more handmade quality.

My paintings are not meant to be didactic; they read like pages torn from a strange storybook of narrative quandaries and puzzles.

I had a chuckle looking back at my interview in 2014 where I pondered my overall body of work in relation to self-portraiture. My more recent works definitely continue to reflect my rollercoasters of emotion, simple joys, and great anxieties.

When Minnesota Women’s Press transitioned from a newspaper format to a monthly magazine in 2009, the publication began showcasing Minnesota women artists on the cover each month. They worked in many mediums, and were at various stages of their careers.

In our “35 Years of Minnesota Women’s Press” book, former publishers Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson write, “We looked for artwork that made a strong statement about being a woman, and often artwork that represented the theme of the monthly issue — from women’s bodies, homes and environments, spiritualities, politics, fitness and health, and what nourishes women.”

For this issue, we reconnected with a few past cover artists and asked them to share an update on their lives and art.