Contemporary mixed media artist Rix Jennings’s work explores the materialization of pure line and organic form. His pieces are the result of of an ever-evolving thread of ideas, relationships, and associations that nourish each other and gradually develop into a more complex and finished form, whether abstract, conceptual or diagrammatic in appearance. While his work seemingly falls into three separate categories —painting, drawing, and sculpture— it is clear that drawing lies at the center of all of his production. During a recent studio visit the artist explained that he seems to go through a kind of a cycle, he states: “At certain points the drawing exhausts itself. I lose the thread, or I feel an attraction to work more three dimensionally. Over the last five years, that has been a pretty regular cycle. I don’t feel like I have much control over it. At a certain point, I leave one territory and enter another.”
Jennings tells us that his work “begins with an attempt to do something that is not entirely conscious, as if he needs to stand in a shadow of some kind so he can respond to it rather than control it.”
“In shadow, in darkness,” he states, “it is possible to see where the germ of light exists. It is not avoiding responsibility for the image, but rather a shifting of responsibility from conscious intention to a deeper awareness that can catch more subtle drifts of purpose, follow a thread that may be overrun by too much Mind or Will. A drawing often starts with a texture, a fertile swamp of marks and stains that feels very much like working in the earth. That cultivation reaches in time a critical mass. I lean into it with what is present in me, not a blank slate at all. All the time, I have been making images in my journal, writing, carrying many threads, listening to stories or discussions, worrying the edges of ideas. These things churn and perhaps connect in small bundles and influence a gestural response, a division of space, a sense of order, dark and light. At some point, these movements coalesce and seek more solid form. Then I have something to work with or against. Both energies are part of the drawing. There is as much need to dissolve or resist as to solidify and define. There is an ebb and flow that seems to energize the drawing and keep it from becoming stale.”
Rix Jennings lives and works in Houston, Texas. He received his BA from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and acquired his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Houston. Currently, he is an instructor in Film Production for Actors at Prairie View A&M University in Houston.