Jennifer Cronin is a Chicago-based artist, born and raised in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a dual BFA in painting and art education. As the capstone of her education, she studied painting at Camberwell College of Art in London, completing her education in 2009. Since graduating, Cronin has become known for combining an uncanny realism with psychological depth to create large paintings that capture extraordinary encounters amidst the backdrop of ordinary, everyday life. Currently, Cronin is working on a series of drawings documenting foreclosed homes in Chicago. These houses, once filled with life and warmth, are shown as striking shadows of their former selves both stark and stunning in their detail and mood.
Cronin has exhibited widely in the Chicago area, as well as nationally and internationally. She has had solo exhibitions at 33 Contemporary Gallery and Elephant Room Gallery, among other galleries. She has been featured in many publications, including New American Paintings, and has earned numerous awards for her work, including Best in Show at the Buchanan Center for the Arts show America: Now and Here juried by Eric Fischl. She continues to work in her artist studio in Chicago.
Wandering. Looking for something to follow. Hoping to find a hint of something that is genuine and true. In my early work, it is a playful tale of imagination weaving itself throughout my daily life. It is a dream that has taken grip in my consciousness and won’t let go. A wistful yearning for something more. A quiet reflection on the mystery of the everyday. The brilliance and beauty that can be lost if you don’t try to catch it.
As time has passed, I have turned my search outward. Searching for meaning in the lives of others and the surrounding world. Hoping that we can all connect through our lives lived, our sense of empathy, our individual stories, our hopes and aspirations, and our shared struggles and disappointments. Chasing after the mystery and complexity of our lives, and the fingerprints that we leave behind in this world.
Mostly self taught. I never intended to be an artist. It just became a necessity. I took one beginning painting class for therapy after I started getting chronic headaches. Doctors and self-medicating was not helping. What did I have to lose? I had not even taken art in high school. Creating art has given me positive goals for the future.
My Art is trying to capture the subliminal ironies and absurdities of events, words, and things, real or imagined. This is for my need of comprehension, and my need to create beauty with an alternate reality. To share this is also desired.
“Cyclone Mind Violet”, is about some of my experience of dealing with chronic headaches. It
represents those times when I’m having problems with balance, anxiety, vision blurriness, and intense pain.
“Oblivious Beaver”, is about a beaver swimming two feet away from me and it not knowing it.
I live a few blocks from the Des Plaines river. Some times at night I go fishing for catfish.
To get to my fishing spot I have to cross a fairly busy four lane road, step over a guard rail,
and straight down a steep embankment. Ten feet down are concrete steps going to the river.
These steps follow the bend in the river for about fifty yards. I think these are for erosion control,
seeing that the river is so close to the road. I usually stand one or two steps from the river.
One night all of a sudden something was swimming along the bank ten feet down stream heading
toward me. In surprise I turned on my light said, “who’s there”, and it dove under and disappeared.
Now I was curios as to what the swimmer was .An otter? A beaver? I did not get a good look.
Months later I spot spot the critter coming when it is further down stream. Patiently I wait as it
swims by me, under my fishing pole and line. It’s a beaver! Then wondering if it was just ignoring
me I yell, “hey”, and it dives. So obviously it was oblivious to me. Next time fishing I hear a beaver
slap its tail on the water, and the I see ripples in the water heading toward me. They stop five feet
away. The beaver was feigning a charge at me under the water. I guess it did not like our last
encounter, and was letting me know that this was it’s turf.
“Reverse Embrace”, is about having left a painting hung on a bar wall, and having remorse for being
a bad parent. The next day I made a painting that represents me embracing the one that I left in
the bar, to release my guilt.
“The Last Human II”, is about how it would be to be the last human on earth. You could dig your grave but no one would be there to bury you.