“There’s a deep spirituality of nature in Jennifer’s art and it’s somehow embedded and contained within the landscape of her drawings – she almost seems to be producing a kind of spiritual archaeology and in some of the work you can actually see the deep layers unfolding. I see as a kind of peeling away of the layers of nature – the trees, the plants, and the animals all live and eventually die, and their life force is absorbed by the earth and the rocks; and I can see in Jennifer’s art a rediscovery and unearthing of that spirit delving down into ‘primitive’ prehistory – the place where imaginations are formed, and where dream archetypes come from. It seems almost aboriginal in the truest sense of the word (ab-origine: from the beginning). I have a deep love of Australian Aboriginal art, and of the idea that everything that has been is contained in the landscape – the energy of our ancestors then comes alive again through us; and I can see that coming through in Jennifer’s art. She has a very poetic vision.”
~Artist Ian Pyper, Brighton, England
“Jennifer McCarthy’s visual art is evocative of Gaughin in its use of the primitive to extoll the viewer’s vulnerabilities.
One thing most striking is the use of eyes in several pieces I have seen: indicative of both power and weakness, the body itself is satellited by eyes, and the eye homes there as a god.
The animals, in some instances mixed human and beast, have an anthropormorphic reality to them even when it is not overt. The fish, for instance, have the gaunt cheeks of the anorexic, one whose body is devouring itself. I wonder, are these all self-portraits? For even so, they seem in may aspects to be portraits of me, a wife and mother, a woman, entered into a hallucinogenic circle, girls of the Romantic period taking laudonum with Keats and Shelly in the tower, to see ‘what will happen.’ These pieces make me uncertain of my identity as a human being, in all its facets, as if that is not uncertain enough. A struggle with what is ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’, as manifest in some mental disorders, becomes relevant to the world at large. All is questioned. Indeed, in the piece where the individual is covering her crotch, I have the sense of being violated or even of violating: as a rape survivor, this struck its chord with me as well.
The use of African motifs, as applied to the woman’s world. All is questioned, in a mode that is terrifying in its disciplined yet wild use and revelation of what is beautiful. Again, the eyes, showing what one does not wish to see, yet what one as a vigilant artist remains hostage to. An artist is always vigilant, someone said. McCarthy’s art is indicative of that capability. They make the viewer doubt and wonder and wish a little. Or wish a lot.”
~Poet Carolyn Srygley-Moore, Albany, New York
“The image of the red female beast (a wolf?) inspires fear of violence or anger in me. But also respect. The beast appears strong and fit.”
~Jon Wood, Portland, Oregon, USA
“The pieces with the animals? They come across to me like co-existence between the snake and the critter. I don’t see the snake as a threat. The fox is going somewhere to die and all the stuff is what would naturally be around it. I love the detail in the animal, the design in that creature, even the way the leaves are striated. Visually, to be honest with you, it fucking blows on my mind.”
~David Gillette, Portland, Oregon, USA