“Ego Altered: One Artist - Two Minds,” a collection of oil and acrylic paintings by Chicago artist, Laura Lee Junge, and her alter ego, M. Jackson, will be on display at the Jackson Junge Gallery October 4th – November 13th, 2011. An Opening reception, free to the public, will be held on Friday, October 7th, 6pm – 9 pm. The artist will be present at this event.
Known for her use of imaginative characters and vivid color choices, Junge has diverged from her usual path to explore a new kind of expression with a different persona to which she has ascribed the name, M. Jackson. Dramatically different from her usual paintings, Jackson’s body of work transcends figures and recognizable imagery. Metallic flakes, acrylic paint, and a sheen of resin poured over the top create the illusion that the paint is still vividly wet. The story is dictated by the paint itself; whereas Junge’s tribal figures have a defined narrative.
Junge is the signature artist at the Jackson Junge Gallery, which celebrates its second year anniversary in October. “Ego Altered” is the fourth major exhibit this prolific painter has mounted at the gallery between showings of other local, contemporary artists. Both residents and visitors are becoming increasingly familiar with her engaging artworks at the Jackson Junge Gallery, the only permanent venue for her work in Chicago. Among other recent honors, one of Junge’s images, “The Mayor of Mayhem,” was selected to represent the prestigious 2011 Gold Coast Art Festival.
Junge is best known for her surreal narrative painting with colorful backgrounds full of movement and energy. What some viewers might call a turning point in her career; Junge has taken an alternative path of eliminating the figurative and concentrating on line, color and movement. Because this body of work is such a diversion from her usual painting style, Junge has signed these abstract works under the pseudonym; M. Jackson. This exhibit marks the first time she has presented them together under a theme of Duality.
“For the first time in my painting career, I have allowed myself to let go of the need to use representational imagery and just use brush stokes, poured paint, color and movement to create a world of abstraction,” Junge says. “I have let go of having any preconceived notions of the end results of the painting and allowed the paint to tell the story.”
All of the paintings incorporate Junge’s trademark use of motion, vivid color and fantasy. With both the abstract and figurative works there is an underlying theme of duality. Portraits of two tribal warriors represent the feminine and masculine parts of a personality. Under the surface there is a deeper underlying turmoil of good versus evil, fate versus freewill, and faith versus disbelief. Along the same lines, the abstract works showcase duality in a dramatically different way. Cool colors compete with warmer tones, circles oppose lines and squares, and a gloss finish compares against thick rigid paint.
”The major difference for me with the abstract work is that it is usually completed in one painting period. I work fast and free, versus the hours that are spent with sketches and technical painting that I use to compose my surreal painting,” says Junge.
Junge chose the name M. Jackson to represent her abstract works after she married her longtime love of 16 years, Chris Jackson, in the summer of 2010. Even though she did not legally take his name, the idea of a new period of her life allowed her the ability to accept a second name.
“After working so hard to establish my own name, I felt it would be an injustice to my own personal history to let it go. But at the same time, I also wanted to be known as M. Jackson, which stands for Mrs. Jackson!”