The Washington Post

Jenny Mullins and Sarah Knobel: Art in focus

Do you smell something rotten? In “Morning Fresh,” Jenny Mullins suggests that beneath beauty lies decay. (Michael O'Sullivan)

Mullins is a draftsman and painter with a sharp point. Her meticulous drawings of the natural world — beautiful animals and flowers — are accompanied by signs of decay: flies and car air fresheners.

Knobel’s approach is more oblique. In photographs, video animations and installation, the artist uses the image of origami paper cranes — symbols of hope in Japanese culture — to question the Western search for quick, superficial fixes.

Stop by Hamiltonian on April 11 at 7 p.m. to hear both artists talk about their work, which I review here. And after the jump, you’ll find a selection of more images.

The innards of a slain stag — an image inspired by the work of French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye — spill open to reveal the detritus of consumer culture in Mullins’s “Gold for the Price of Silver.” (Jenny Mullins)

Flies, such as these rhinestone-studded ones, appear in several of Mullins’s drawings. (Michael O'Sullivan)

Scraps of origami paper obscure the face and body of Sarah Knobel in this image from the artist’s “Recover,” an exhibition whose punning title tweaks the self-help movement. (Sarah Knobel)

In Japan, it’s considered auspicious to make 1,000 origami cranes. In "Unfolded," Sarah Knobel has stacked 999 paper cranes, folded and then painstakingly unfolded in a metaphor for thwarted dreams. (Michael O'Sullivan)
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.


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