Jennifer Hines

I am interested in exploring narrative as a key element, both in the formation and the reading, of our identities. Human nature defines our way of understanding things outside of ourselves by creating a narrative to make sense of the disparate elements, and each person’s narrative is unique because these narratives are created by filtering what we encounter through our own prior experiences and identities.

To visually explore our identities and narratives, I use the natural systems of plants (flora) and animals (fauna) to draw parallels to our own lives. Flora is symbolic to our personal growth in life because the systems of plants and their growth are reflective of our starting places, our journeys as we learn and grow, and our potential future areas of development where we can stretch and grow.  The animal world is symbolic of the physical aspect of our bodies, including our needs, desires, emotions, and instinctual actions that are performed without premeditated thought, but which are imperative to our individual survival. The combination of both personal growth and physical needs are what make us who we are, and together form each person’s own unique personal identity.  We are the sum of our experiences, of our knowledge, and of our instincts.

We also reveal our identity and form narratives by how we balance external forces that we encounter while we live our lives. This balance can mean physical balance, such as how we keep our bodies upright, but can also mean mental, emotional, or intellectual balance. This type of balance is how we sort, filter, and stack our life responsibilities, emotions, tasks, and confrontations into manageable packages. When we are confronted with something, we have to take it on, absorb or deflect it, find a place for it in our mind or body, complete and accept it or reject it, and move to the next confrontation. Our balance is how we absorb, deflect, ignore, accept, or otherwise respond to the stimuli that we encounter while interacting in the world on a day-to-day basis. Every moment of every day we encounter people and emotions who press an experience onto us that we must respond to, and how we respond to these encounters reveals aspects of our identities. Our balance of routine activities and patterns are revealing parts of who we are because we all are confronted with different things each day, and in turn respond to these encounters differently, and we all accept or reject different elements of these encounters.

My artwork explores my own collective identity, instincts, and balance, using symbols to discuss these portions of my identity, and allows viewers to see portions of my life and perspective, allowing them to reflect on their own lives and identities by comparison, and shedding light on the human experience.