Exhibitionists Video

What it means to be in love in full colour

Painter Jen Mann's massive light-infused portraits are inspired by colour, curiosity and personal interactions

Posted: January 18, 2018

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Painter Jen Mann breaks down what individual colours mean to her in these massive portraits that are infused with light.  3:51

Jen Mann has been painting portraits of her partner's face, over and over. It might feel like she's searching for something in his features, and she kind of is: "You don't understand even the people you're closest to." So the images of the object of her love are often obscured, blurred or, in the case of Moon, inaccessible — except if you use your phone. (More on that in the video.)

(CBC Arts)

These hyperreal portraits are the signature of Mann's work — light hits skin in the most vivid and almost palpable way, and faces take shape through her use of super-saturated hues. Colour is as much a subject of her work as people — she even writes poetry about individual tints.


(Jen Mann)

In this video, you'll join Mann in her studio as she explains how colour, curiosity and very personal interactions function together in her work. She says: "I use it the way that I see it, but somebody else is going to see it differently, and that's just emphasizing this idea that we don't really understand each other." And you'll find out why her painting Moon is going to require pressing a few buttons to really see.

(Jen Mann)

Jen Mann is releasing her first book, called Endless quest for myself(ie), this month. It's a collection of poems, essays, short stories, one-liners, paintings, sketches and photographs by the artist. You can pre-order it here. See more of Jen Mann's work below:

(Jen Mann)
(Jen Mann)
(Jen Mann)

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists online or on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.