Like the Libra she is, Jen Bissu’s art hinges on the idea of balance. Balance: the combinative results of Nature & Nurture, the spectral contrasts between white & black, and, of course, the never-ending battle between Good & Evil. For Jen, while every moment in life is unique in its own multi-faceted ways, every moment also repeats general patterns and trends found throughout history. Jen’s paintings straddle the psychological line between these two discerning perspectives.
Within any single piece of her artwork, the viewer will find harsh and gentle strokes, a profusion and restraint of color, and multiple detailed focal points, all speaking to a narrative power held within the maelstrom of Jen’s core belief system. She explains, “The idea is to take my audiences by initial surprise with how much material can be found in my paintings, and then keep their feet planted by nudging their minds into many different directions so as to stimulate the imagination.” To inspire enduring conversation about the human condition is a goal Jen strives to achieve through her work.
Jen gathers the rich imagery for her paintings from where she lives–the New York metro area–and historical annals. “Melding the past with the present, I believe, uniquely accentuates a timeless quality in my work. In having multiple time periods side by side, my art blurs any focus with the theme of time.” She explains why she specifically chooses New York as a resource for endless material: “No other place on the planet possesses such unique images within the confines of its cityscape. Other cities have tried, but none can compare. Other locales have one, two, or several landmarks that are globally recognized; but here, here in New York we have so many universally famous landmarks that the list is incredibly extensive. And for that, I am grateful to have New York as my hometown.” Also, in providing visuals of bygone eras, Jen’s material brings to her viewers an ocular richness that may have been forgotten or completely unknown in their minds: “Not only the subtleties, but much of the best-known visual trends from the past seem to be forgotten entirely unless there’s a purposeful push to bring them back. As the decades recede, their tangible experiences–clothing, print, film, architecture, etc.–have less opportunity to be known and understood.” Bringing together the images of the past with those of the present provide for a “…potent mix, indeed.”
On what the viewer can expect from her work: “I have a lot to say, and I naturally express myself through my art. Each piece delivers multiple messages found on different levels. Look at the characters, the back and foregrounds, the lighting, the color scheme, the brush strokes, the composition, the angles, the body language. Look at it up-close and from a distance. Every inch stands on its own or supports a greater whole. You walk away with finality with something definite held in your mind; yet when you come back, you find yourself intrigued because you see the piece in a whole new light. That power of the mind is what underlies my work.”