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How Artist Jenny’s paintings and Soft Sculptures tell a Story of Motherhood and Feminism

Jenny Flexner Reinhardt is a talented multidisciplinary artist from New Jersey. In this interview, Jenny opens up about her creative journey and the inspiration behind her fantastic art. Using materials like acrylic paint, found objects, and glitter, Jenny makes detailed soft sculptures that explore themes such as feminism, motherhood, and everyday life. She shares how she transitioned from painting to collage to better express the richness of human experience. Jenny also talks about how her studio in the Valley Arts District helps spark her creativity. Through her story, we learn about the deep feelings and ideas that drive her work and how she hopes her art connects with people and starts meaningful conversations.

Jenny Reinhardt

Jenny Reinhardt uses collaged acrylic paint, hand-made prints, found objects, and glitter under plastic sheets to create wall-mounted ‘Soft Sculptures,’ each embodying a deeply personal and authentic essence. Crafted over years of experimentation, these pieces exude whimsy and freedom, yet their creation demands significant labor and intricate layering.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Jenny Flexner Reinhardt explores a range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, collage, and mixed media. Her art delves into the complexities of modern culture, feminism, motherhood, and codependency, reflecting on the psychological gymnastics required to navigate contemporary society. Jenny’s work intertwines personal experience, historical philosophies, literary references, political commentary, and musings of what may exist on a more significant metaphysical level. Jenny spent her formative years in Washington, DC. She earned BA in English Literature from the University of Michigan, followed by an MFA, Cum Laude, at The New York Academy of Art.

After teaching studio art and Art History early in her career, Jenny dedicated herself to raising three daughters. Since 2018, she has had 9 solo exhibitions and works full-time in her studio in the Valley Arts District in Orange, New Jersey.

1. Jenny, what inspired you to work with various art materials, from painting and sculpture to collage and mixed media?

Collage marks a freeing shift in my art. I started with painting and drawing, where my skills were strongest, but I felt stuck. Inspired by street art and posters, I turned to collage and embraced a broader range of materials. This method allows me to imagine my work as touched by many hands, not just my own. By layering different elements and textures, I create multidimensional compositions that reflect contemporary life and capture the richness and diversity of human experience.

Jenny Reinhardt Unearthed 2023 Oil, 60 x 50 acrylic, paper on canvas

2. Your art often tackles modern life, feminism, motherhood, and how we depend on each other. How do these ideas affect the way you create?

I often find myself navigating a spectrum of emotions—contentment, fear, indignation, action, and paralysis—which reflect these overarching themes. I’ve been moving away from explicit references to these ideas in recent projects. Instead, I’m focusing on capturing what it means to be human and allowing that essence to dissolve into the broader composition. This approach aims to evoke the transient and ephemeral nature of human experience, creating art that resonates more intuitively and universally. By stepping back from overt symbols and narratives, I aim to create a more immersive and emotive experience for the viewer. The goal is to subtly touch upon the shared human condition, allowing the emotional undercurrents to guide the viewer through the artwork. This shift in focus helps me encapsulate the fleeting moments of understanding and connection that define our lives, ultimately creating a more holistic and encompassing representation of our collective experiences.

Jenny Reinhardt The Fishbowl, 2024, 47 x 36 x 5 Acrylic paint, hand made prints, found materials, glitter painted on the reverside of plastic, mounted on linen board

3. With a rich academic background in English Literature and an MFA from The New York Academy of Art, how do you find these disciplines intersect with your art practice?

I love this question. As I sit here now, I remember going to a bookstore with my father and just tracing my finger over all the covers. I invariably chose the book by its cover. I had endless interests. Perhaps this is why I am now drawn to Collage.

Jenny Reinhardt Human Kindness Overflowing, 2024, 31 x 24 x 8 acrylic paint, handmade prints, found materials, glitter, reverse-painted on plastic sheets

4. You’ve had some big solo art shows. Can you tell us how each one has helped you grow as an artist?

For me, a solo show is like jet fuel, and the deadline is the muse. When I have a solo show, my creativity goes on overdrive. Even if I have plenty of work already to show, as I start to envision the entirety of the exhibition, I invariably create new work. In preparation for my last show, I deeply explored my Soft Sculptures and plastic works. It furthered my progress and took my work to a whole new level.

Jenny Reinhardt Said No Woman Ever. 2023. 90 x 50 Oil, acrylic, paper, collage on canvas

My studio practice is best when I eradicate “logical” thoughts and enter a free-association realm. That shift begins in the car on the way into the studio, taking about 25 minutes. When I arrive at the studio, the raw space, the smell of the materials, the clutter, and the art all help to disengage me from the everyday and help me tap into creative energy. Once in the studio, I rotate between print-making, painting, drawing, and taking breaks to meditate or just sit still. I even allow for “procrastination,” as I have come to view that as part of my process.

6.  You’ve also participated in group art shows. How do you see your art fitting into what’s happening in the art world today, especially regarding feminism and social issues?

I recently made a work of art that shows an enraged and upset woman. Obviously, I am pro-choice and feminist. That said, I would like to imagine that my work can still move other women who don’t share my views. Somehow, that will still bridge our humanity and leave room for discussion and empathy. I want art to connect us all, including people who are different from me.

Jenny Reinhardt The Inscrutable, 2024, Acrylic paint, handmade prints, found materials, glitter reverse-painted on plastic sheets

Using different materials and designs, Jenny Flexner Reinhardt’s art combines personal stories with social issues. Moving from painting to collage and mixed media, she’s found new ways to show the richness of life. Her solo and group shows push boundaries and invite people to connect more deeply. Jenny’s work not only reflects the complexities of our world but also aims to bridge gaps and build empathy among all kinds of people. To learn more about Jenny, click the following links to visit her profile.

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