August 18 to September 23
Ampersand is pleased to present EDEN, an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Jason Brinkerhoff.
Of this most recent body of work he writes, “I joined the Mormon Church at the age of 12 as a result of my father’s second marriage. His new wife, my new mom, was a member of the Church. My own birth mother had left us and this new faith brought structure and peace to our family. I was raised as a Mormon from that time forward, serving a mission and graduating with a degree in Economics from Brigham Young University.
In 2009, I was facing a marriage decision. Complicating the matter was the plain fact that I was a Mormon. In the Mormon Church, marriage is eternal, so I felt immense pressure to get it right. Marriages occur in a temple, are considered to last forever and are essentially the foundation upon which all indoctrination occurs in the minds of young people up until the time they decide to get married.
During this time of great reflection and commitment to my fiancée, my drawing practice emerged. Looking back, I am convinced that my strategy to constrain all of my ideas within the female form was a kind of offensive maneuver to create a universe of abstracted and idealized women, should my marriage decision prove wrong.
The work for this exhibition was started 18 months ago. At the time my focus was multi-figure works on paper. As the drawings evolved, so too did the framework for the show. EDEN is meant to be a loose metaphor, a notion that came to me while teaching Sunday School at Church. The studio is garden. I’m a God figure, free to create whatever I want. I choose to draw women as an exercise in maintaining the thin line between art and life. To keep the balance operational.
My relationship between nudity and Mormonism has been something of a small war waging inside me for almost 25 years. Mormonism has a strict code of conduct related to sexuality and nudity. Most of it is doctrinal, some of it is cultural, but it has been a confusing path as I have strived to obey the teachings of the Church as an adult male.
When I was teaching the book of Genesis earlier this year, I came across scripture describing the moment Adam and Eve were being kicked out of the Garden of Eden—Genesis 2:25. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
This notion of not being ashamed has become an essential piece in helping me end my war. I am an active and faithful Mormon today. The Church has brought me far more joy than pain. The Christian teachings have given me a solid foundation in life, specifically how to treat others. It has brought me the love of my life, Heather, and my son, Lucian. I am proud to be a Mormon. I am at peace.”
Jason Brinkerhoff lives and works in Menlo Park, California. Since 2009, Brinkerhoff has produced upwards of 1200 drawings of women. His drawings, paintings and photographic practice have been exhibited and published in diverse contexts, including three previous gallery projects at Ampersand, Head Fake (2013), Unfinished Drawing (2014) and 50 Heads (2015).
No Order No Home, 2015
14 x 11 in.
14 x 11 inches
After Apple II, 2016
7 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.
The Tree, 2016
7 7/8 x 5 3/8 in.
26 x 15 in.
9 3/4 x 7 in.
After Apple VI, 2017
8 1/8 x 5 3/4 in.
Adam and Eve, 2018
11 x 14 in.
After Apple IV, 2018
11 1/4 x 8 3/4 in.
Multiply II, 2016
7 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.