The “American Dream” is a bizarre concept. Some are evolving and progressive, some are stuck in a dark past and celebrate ignorance. Yet we share custody of our physical, emotional and spiritual space, and have major problems to solve.
As we all know, mothers worry. I feel a maternal sense of guardianship for people of all ages and walks of life, and the environment. I like to create imagery that is rooted in the natural world and summoned from my imagination. It is a celebration of beauty and a reminder of our responsibility as a species with the gift of forethought.
Works are informed by concepts of stewardship, activism, playfulness, and awe. Some art works are more personal and touch on the push-pull energy of social roles that are both depleting and inspiring: being a woman in the US and a mother. I like soft and hard, pretty and ugly, together. My artistic process is guided by layering, the physical qualities of textures, forms and colors, storytelling, and humor.
I like to use symbols to explore ideas: human teeth, fingernails, fishing lures, cacti and oceanic organisms. For example, I include teeth because as humans, we all have teeth no matter what we look like and they are a shared connection. Other works also use fishing lures. I think they look like little people, ghosts when together, non-thinking masses with a permanent expression of confusion, apathy. And I combine them with flora and fauna – to share space with the fishing lure “people”, all linked together.
Other ongoing series explore labor roles, the beauty/fashion industry, climate change, environment, disposable culture and socioeconomic imbalance.
In my practice, I use a variety of media on paper and canvas: acrylics, gouache, graphite, Austin tap water, magazines, encyclopedias, ink and secret tools.
I grew up in Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri and Texas, spending a lot of time in nature. I am a mother of two young adults - they inspire, teach and remind me to be in the moment. Somewhere along the line I created my own systems to have an art practice while parenting and working full time. I love to laugh and make things, and help people on their journey however I can. Most days, I have a twinkle in my eyes.
1997 University of Missouri, Communications
Jen Tough Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2022 Texas Connect magazine, Happens Here feature, Fall 2022
2022 Kolaj magazine, #36
2022 Texas Observer magazine cover, July/August
2022 Artsy Shark Artist Feature
2021 Wild Lands book by Jen Tough Gallery
2021 IG Live Interview with Brook Hoffert, Curator MOCAN
2020 Artist / Mother Podcast Crit Group
mentored by Pam Marlene Taylor, fiber artist and Gallery & Artist Residency Director of Stay Home Gallery & Residency
2023 - Fable: Art with Narrative, Jen Tough Gallery Inaugural Exhibition
2023 - Masur Museum, 60th Annual Juried Competition, juror Jovanna Venegas, SFMOMA
2022 - Collar Works, 2022 Flat Files, curated by Jeremy DennisCollar Works
2022 - Artexpo Dallas, Jen Tough Gallery
2022 - Artist Alliance "Nocturnal" featured on Artsy, curated by Jen Tough
2022 - Method Hair Gallery, "Food + Body + Suggestion"
2021 - Amarillo Museum of Art Biennial-600: Justice, Equality, Race, Identity, juror Leslie Moody Castro
2021 - Brand 49 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, juror Marvella Muro
2021 - Museum of Contemporary Art Nashville TMP1, "Radical" Thoughts
2021 - Artist Alliance "Terrain" curated by Carol Dalton and Jen Tough
2020 - Artist Alliance "We the People" curated by Tamera Avery and Jen Tough
2020 - Artist Alliance "Rough Around the Edges" curated by Jen Tough
2020 - I Like Your Work Summer Juried Show "Congruence" curated by Bridgette Mayer
2020 - Stay Home Gallery, Week 12 "Soften" curated by Kaylan Buteyn and Pam Marlene Taylor
2017 - Cecile R. Hunt Gallery, "Lone Star", St. Louis, MO
2017 - Bouldin Creek Cafe Gallery, Austin, TX
2015 - East Austin Studio Tour, Austin, TX
2014 - East Austin Studio Tour, Austin, TX
2013 - East Austin Studio Tour, Austin, TX
2010 - Method Hair Gallery, Austin, TX
2009 - Bouldin Creek Cafe Gallery, Austin, TX
2008 - Bouldin Creek Cafe Gallery, Austin, TX
2006 - South First Street Art Pop Up, Austin, TX
2003 - Guadalupe Arts Center Group Show, Austin, TX
Private Collections in Austin, TX; Columbia, MO; Durham, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; New York, NY; Portland, OR; Santa Fe, NM ; St. Louis, MO; Nashville, TN; Washington, DC
Grants & Awards
2011 Hunting Prize Finalist
curated by Rachel Blackburn Cozad, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Carol Damian, Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum; Julien Robson, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts