February Cover Artist: Eric Jensen
Thursday Feb. 1st, 2024
Eric Jensen is an abstract landscape painter with a passion for environmental conservation. His painting practice has long been rooted in a spiritual engagement with color. Initially an abstract painter, he searched for a subject matter that rooted his use of color in something tangible. He started painting portraits of trees, which expanded into other “inanimate” natural subject matter. He came to this due to an upbringing close to nature, a pessimistic view of material society, and a rejection of childhood faith that required a new foundation of value and purpose that he found in the natural world.
Specifically, for Eric, he finds meaning in the patterns and systems in the assumed “less conscious” parts of nature like plants and rocks. Examples of this include water erosion, glacial carving, coast lines, plant and fungal growth, cloud formations, geologic and volcanic events, etc. Fractal equations and the golden ratio hold some explanation to the prevalence of such patterns, and he finds expanding spiritual ramifications to their ubiquitous presence.
Eric’s painting practice is not an attempt to understand why these patterns exist, but to celebrate them and call attention to their intrinsic value, deep beauty, and endless mystery. Nature is not the inherent realm of human narrative: it has its own story to tell. He believes in the tactile quality of paint, and in its ability to enhance our intimate and contemplative spaces. Each of his paintings function as a simulation of complex ecosystems which serve as portals that transport the viewer deep into an experience of the natural world.
His practice is built out of a contemporary art education and many backcountry expeditions that are informed by experiences living in both rural western settings and large east coast cities. These influences have culminated in an interest to unify different areas of learning, like science, spirituality, and art, in order to empower ecological preservation efforts and establish cultural values. He has formed a landscape painting practice that looks critically at the way our society perceives the land and is working to unify his practice with environmental conservation efforts. Born in Utah, raised and educated in Virginia, Eric is now living outside of Missoula, MT after finishing an MFA in painting at the University of Montana.