Jacob Wenzka: As Space and Time Permits
Jacob Wenzka has been an Athens resident for six years, arriving there to attend classes at the University of Georgia in the fall of 1996 as a Studio Art Major, focusing on drawing and painting. He originally hails from Buffalo, New York, but spent most of his formative years in Portland, Maine and St. Simons Island, Georgia. His interest in art has been a recent phenomenon in his life, as he never took any of the doodles in the margins of his high school notebooks seriously enough to warrant any formal training. Upon his arrival in Athens, however, that all changed. Almost by accident, he found himself enrolled in a drawing class, and, with the aid of several dedicated and talented instructors, he discovered a talent he never knew he possessed. From that point on, everything came more sharply into focus in his life. Jacob graduated from UGA in 2001, with a degree in Studio Art (focusing on painting), but he continued to take classes for another semester after graduation, working on developing his skills in the area of computer artwork and graphic design. He currently resides in Athens, working both as a graphic designer and also helping to manage and do inventory for a bookstore, while he ponders the big graduate school decision.
Jacob's work is simultaneously disturbing and compelling. While some viewers find the work creepy and unsettling (prompting one local art review to name him the "Local King of Darkness," Flagpole Magazine, 2002), others see the beauty and connect with the meaning behind the images. Most often, people who claim to not be art collectors at all, and who have never bought a painting before in their lives, are the ones who purchase Wenzka's work, seeing it on the wall of a coffee shop or local restaurant and feeling a correlation between themselves and the artist and his work. Jacob's recent paintings have mostly been on wood paneling, and they are usually images of varying sizes, depicting people or scenes that the artist has observed in his life, and then filtered through his mind to create an image that people can universally relate to, capturing the feeling while still maintaining a certain degree of formality and distance between the artist and the viewer. Although Wenzka still feels that his work is in its early stages, and he has much learning ahead of him yet, he has shown the results of his learning in many venues, both locally and in other regions.
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