About the Exhibition
In Carnage, Jennifer May Reiland creates a personal pantheon of secular and religious saints and martyrs, ranging from Princess Diana to bullfighter Juan Belmonte to Maria of Agreda, a Spanish nun whose body was said to be seen floating over Texas in the early days of the Spanish conquest. In works on paper and wood, Reiland draws from medieval European imagery and the tradition of Mexican devotional painting to examine female guilt, martyrdom, and violence against women. These works weave together the stories of many women, historical and imagined. From medieval saints like Saint Catherine and Saint Agatha to historical martyrs like Marie Antoinette and Juana la Loca to modern celebrity martyrs like Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, these women’s bodies are sexualized, idolized, then ritually picked apart by the mob. Reiland combines the known facts of their lives with dreams, associations, and fantasies about them, attempting to fill in the holes where the truth is unknowable.
Essay by Joshua O’Driscoll, Assistant Curator of Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York.
Jennifer May Reiland (b. 1989, Houston, TX) is an artist based in New York City. She attended High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Cooper Union (BFA, 2011), then spent a year in Paris as recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship at Fondation des États-Unis (2012-13). She was a resident at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program (2014-15) and at the Open Sessions at The Drawing Center (2016-17). Since 2018, she has been an artist-in-residence at the Studio Program at Queens Museum. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris and most recently at Galeria Enrique Guerrero in Mexico City.
After earning his Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University in 2015, Joshua O’Driscoll joined the Morgan Library as Assistant Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. At the Morgan, he was the in-house curator of the 2018 exhibition, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders; and he is currently co-curating an exhibition on the arts of the book in the Holy Roman Empire, entitled Imperial Splendor, which will open in the fall of 2021. Prior to joining the Morgan, Joshua assisted on major manuscript exhibitions including Royal Manuscripts, held at the British Library in London, and Beyond Words, an exhibition of manuscripts in Boston area collections.