june 2003 issue, Art Access

"Chris Burden’s photogravure of the London Tower Bridge from “The Master Builders” portfolio, a print from his 'Trans-fixed' performance, a still from a Vincent Gallo film reworked by Vincent Gallo (who, incidentally, hates to be photographed), and the remainder of the show provide the male tenor to Jena Scott’s female narrative. A recent conversation with Scott reminded me that the war between the sexes is still very much on and that discourse, whether in art or conversation, remains critical. Scott is perpetually watchful for signs and symbols that describe or elucidate gender differences. Her current work examines pop culture and consumer manifestations of these differences and posits the two against each other (case in point, Scott pointed out the overt sexual properties in shape and color of Hostess Twinkies and Sno-Balls).

"100 Things About Me, a handwritten list transcribed from a recording illustrates Scott’s fearlessness in using herself as source for artistic material. The list was generated spontaneously and careens through the complexities of womanhood from the mundane to the horrific, the sweet to the sexual. The following excerpt is a rather harrowing example of a typical female head trip:

53. i find it very difficult to accept help from women i don’t know.

54. i know the man who raped me and i don’t want to press charges. i forgave him.

55. i’m quite loyal.

56. i was both a 4.0 student and a jock in high school.

57. i adore strong women.

"Other work by Scott includes 'Ginger or Mary Ann,' framed and reworked fabric swatches that explore Scott’s childhood dilemma of having to choose between the two 'Gilligan’s Island' role models, 'Hang Down on the Monkey,' illuminated old-fashioned quasi-porno pictures with, in the artist’s words, 'artist-drawn pussies – larger than the average pussy,' and 'Frisky Filly No. 2,' a follow up to 'Frisky Filly No. 1' previously shown and a huge hit at Eyre/Moore.

- katie j. kurtz

october 2001 issue, Art in America

"In some of her latest works, Seattle painter Jena Scott illuminates the sexual foibles of assertive, eccentric women from history and popular culture.  The 35-year-old artist extends and blends a 'bad girl' mythology with wacky figuration of the Chicago Imagist type.  The style is cartoonish but with enough detail and confident paint-handling to elicit interest beyond the bawdy subjects. 

"The imagery, however, furnishes the punchlines.  Amish Whore wears fishnet stockings and drives a team of blue horses while a pair of coreligionists peer from behind a hedge.  Calamity Jane's Best Friend is a flesh-colored horse — with an erect member — that stands near the pistol-packing, fringe-skirted sideshow performer.  Scott reminds us that much of history, especially of the Far West, is part fiction to begin with.

"Others of the dozen or so small acrylic-on-panel paintings in this show set a female nude near an instantly recognizable male.  In The Temptation of George, George Washington fondles his enormous phallus while utterly entranced by a woman revealing herself through a purple velvet gown; in the background, Martha stands before Mount Vernon.  In Siren, a partially clothed woman in a tight-fitting, strapless mermaid-like fishskin 'gown,' has shipwrecked Columbus's Niña, Pina and Santa Maria; they are hopelessly bogged down in a tropical swamp.  The women manage to poke fun at their hapless victims and, in glances often directed toward the viewer, seem to enjoy the laughable downfalls they have perpetrated.

"A few works relating to her prior series of fantasy self-portraits, such as My Nile, seem less adventurous. Scott is better at using her deft painting skills to direct her humor at broader, more provocative American myths associated with fearless men and women."

- matthew kangas