Jennifer Georgescu: An Artistically Nurturing Mother Series
Written by Genie Davis
Photographic artist Jennifer Georgescu offers a fresh and intensely rich depiction of motherhood in her Mother Series. She describes the works as speaking to “historical, widespread, relatable feelings of the joy and hardships surrounding motherhood, all the while referencing passing time and lineage.” The result is something visceral and compelling, neither a sugar-coated representation nor a zany one; but not so much dark as deep.
“I often see work depicting motherhood as funny, off-kilter, or cute and I think it falls short of the reality of it all. There is some real weight that goes along with all of that joy and it needs to be discussed,” Georgescu says. “Having feelings about the hardship of providing ‘round-the-clock care and guidance that largely goes unnoticed, should not be deemed as being ungrateful. These feelings are real and we are all in this together. To not be alone in your hard thoughts is truly a blessing.”
The word blessing is resonant here: the images often have a strangely spiritual quality, something both firmly rooted in this world and poised on the edge of another. “I have always been drawn to ideas and explanations of what makes us human and what defines our consciousness. Deep down, my work is always tied to this theme; our universal relatedness,” she states.
Noting that her art grows organically with her in an unforeseen way, “much like life itself,” she adds, “I am interested in describing the emotion of personal experiences that I feel are poignant and contain universal understanding.”
What inspires the moving, lush images she creates – and their classical aesthetic choices is the outgrowth of intense planning, thinking, and sketching. “I pay attention to art and to dreams, and any and everything else around me. I am an absorber. I obsess over one image at a time thinking about it in different configurations obsessively and sketching them out until something clicks,” she explains. “That is a moment of magic and one of my favorite parts about creating the work.”
Of her recent work, she stresses that she creates her conceptual art first and foremost to describe the feeling she wants it to embody. “The feeling is always the reality of the image for me. I am not interested in capturing what is there; I am interested in the blood, bonds, and thoughts that lie beneath the surface.”
Themes of relationships and connectedness are embodied in her images. “In the past I have worked with themes of self-identity, interpersonal relationships, our complicated relationship with nature, and most recently the blur between self and other as described through motherhood.”
Motherhood has been a particularly definitive topic for Georgescu. “The meaning and significance of becoming a mother is very rich, but I was surprised to find it paired with a sense of self-longing and dark intensity. I found it very interesting that there weren’t many mothers talking about the whole story of their experiences openly, which can be a dangerous thing.” She believes passionately that it’s important to share reality so that others feel less alone.
The dream-like quality to her photography is at least in part due to a strong background in painting. “I struggled for a long time to combine painting and photography. I knew that was my medium, somewhere in between, but I had to find it,” she asserts. “I construct my images by defining the gesture and space between figures and then working my way outwards. I see the space that lies between figures as of utmost importance, as this is where meaning and emotion take place.”
Georgescu feels that her medium is best-described as “painting with photography. My images are painstakingly planned-out, artificially lighted, and then digitally painted. They are paintings that gain power from the relationship of photography with reality.” To this artist, “A photograph is real in a way that a painting can never be.”
Asked what’s ahead for her and her work, she stresses that currently her life is “completely enraptured in being a mother.” She plans for her work to continue to describe this life for the near future, which means that viewers will continue to experience her intense and graceful images as they uncover the fullness of emotion in motherhood.