Intoxicating Bauhaus Paintings Of Jen Schwarting / by jac lahav

In the lofted Brooklyn studio of Jen Schwarting dozens of drunk girls, lie unmoving and sprawled across the floor. Sounds like a hot mess, right? Only figuratively, they are actually a collection of drunk girl photos forming the foundation for Jen Schwarting's wonderful collage based paintings. 

Schwarting's bauhaus inspired collages mix the beauty of design with the morbid fascination of internet culture. Each image's centerpiece is a pictures of a drunk college lady scoured from the web. During my visit we talked about many things including the title to her series 'drunk girls'. Since most of the people in these pictures should be considered women, what does referring to them as 'girls' do? Are we reminiscing for the nostalgic innocence of our college years? Do we take away the responsibility for their drunken actions by calling them girls?

Either way these photos are whimsically creepy, raising more and more questions about the priorities of youth. Who takes these photos? Are they glamor shots by the participants? What are they trying to prove by sharing them with social media? Perhaps they are professing an ability to get drunker and become superior party animals than their piers? What is the aftermath? What happened to that girl passed out in the bush? Like watching a train wreck, the girls themselves are forgotten in their environments, subsequently transferred by the artist into expertly designed environments reminiscent of the bauhaus. Here, design battles with content for superiority creating a dissonance available in but a few artworks. 

Born in the Bronx (NY NY!) Schwarting got her MFA from CalArts, she has shown her work at the Bronx Museum of Arts, Islip Art Museum, Smack Mellon, and Regina Rex.