The work of Jeremy Enecio reveals not just a young master who commands his media with precision and passion, but an artist who knows how to convey strong haunting atmospheres laced with symbolism and curiosity.
For his latest Nucleus exhibition, "Embodiments," Jeremy uses these strengths to explore his recent fascination with nymph mythology. But rather than recreating the image of the nymph, Jeremy uses the nymph as a foundation, a fertile base in which his own ideas can expand and grow. In a short interview, Jeremy was kind enough to illuminate the processes behind his work, shedding light upon the nymphs, their meaning, and the significance of their recontextualization. Here are his thoughts on the nymphs and the fascination behind them.
"For some reason, I’ve always found nymphs to be quite fascinating even among the myriad other creatures and characters written in ancient Greek mythology. Maybe it’s the simplicity behind their very being; spirits of nature depicted as beautiful women. They personify forests, bodies of water, valleys and mountains. I’m interested by the idea of inanimate objects and spaces having souls and visualizing them in human form. Looking back, I noticed that the majority of the figures in my work were embodiments of one thing or another, whether it be chaos, harmony, light, balance, etc. I wanted to explore this more by delving into man-made constructs, like beauty and poverty."
When asked about the nymphs and the man-made constructs, Jeremy revealed that this juxtaposition was meant as a way to explore his own understanding of modern concepts. Taking these ideas and appropriating them to paint has allowed him to turn the tangible into things of visual substance.
"I like to think of nymphs as not having any one true form, yet they reveal themselves in particular ways. In most traditional cases they are human females. I took this a little bit further using spirits, perceived visually, to represent not only objects, but concepts. They act as icons, or proxies to otherwise invisible things. Nymphs are also bound to their environment, perhaps because they are their environment. This idea plays a key role in this series in that the figures only represent part of what makes up the nymph. They are not isolated from the elements surrounding them. In “Poverty,” the two figures in the distant background, indifferent yet capable of judgement, are an extention of the central figure as an embodiment of that particular experience.
Most of us rarely look at the world we live in without being bogged down by societal influences. We see beauty the way we were taught to see it. We use technology and can’t imagine life without it. I wanted to convey these ideas in a timeless way. The idea of the nymph is an ancient one, and using it to illustrate modern ideas forces the viewer out of their own modern perception of things."
As for the dark and brooding aesthetic quality to his work, Jeremy spoke of these decisions as being intuitive and without the intentionality of being creepy or haunting.
"I think as an aesthetic, it has always been subconscious in my work. Often times, I don’t even see a piece as being dark, whereas someone else would find it utterly creepy. Although most of the pieces in this show are admittedly somewhat dark, the concepts I’ve chosen to illustrate are not altogether negative. Technology, for instance, is by no means a bane on humanity, but I’ve represented it as a figure in struggle, awkwardly attempting to balance on artificiality, and with multiple eyes to view the world simultaneously, there is a sense of bewilderment. I think images that bring negative issues to light have a bigger impact on me and stick with me more intensely than an image without any tension."
When it came to the actual creation of the work, Jeremy outlned the process from notebook sketches to finalized painting. Here's what he had to say on the production of "Embodiments":
"I started off with notes, jotting down ideas of what I wanted to see embodied in human form. After I narrowed down the ideas into a group I was happy with, I focused on symbolism, trying to incorporate certain motifs and personal symbols into the sketches. This is a challenge because it’s important for me to pull from my own vocabulary of meanings and keep away from universal symbolism. The finished pieces are a mixture of acrylic and oil. I am constantly experimenting with different techniques which is why there are so many variations of paint application in this series. That’s the fun part for me. I painted all of the pieces sort of simultaneously, keeping a close watch on how they all fit together. At several intervals, placing them all side by side to make sure they felt like one body of work while at the same time, having a good variety of color schemes."
When asked about the future of his work and what direction it would take, Jeremy seemed uncertain, but seemed quite pleased with how things were turning out, stating that he was enjoying the direction in his subject matter.
Currently, Jeremy has taken an interest in film, and has been following the works of numerous directors including Stanley Kubric, Quentin Tarantino, Akira Kurosawa, Takashi Miike, P.T. Anderson, Park Chan Wook, and the Coen Brothers. He is particularly obsessed with the cinematic masterpiece, "Baraka." We look forward to how these influences will make their way into Jeremy's work!