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(1) "La Playa De Las Piedras", o/c, 54 x 165", 1995
(2) "All That Glitters", o/c, 24 x 116", 1994


by Judith Christensen

(Koplin Gallery, Santa Monica) Anyone who has admired the smooth, round rocks from river beds or the beaches of the Pacific will find Connie Jenkins' Water Series paintings seductive. She depicts these rocks with a wet gloss--presumably from a wave that has just washed over them--that intensifies the blues, greens, golds and purples, thus increasing their power of attraction. The paintings' large scale and the exacting detail of the image are both factors in the works' sensuality; they have the capacity to evoke the familiar sensation of how these solid little masses feel nestled in one's hand.

The rocks appear stable. It is the sand around them that seems to be shifting. In All That Glitters and the upper corner of La Playa De Las Piedras the lines that run through the sand are evidence of the force of the waves and the pull of the tide. A closer inspection, particularly of La Playa De Las Piedras in which the rocks are more densely composed than in the other images, reveals stones that look as if they are rolling about as the powerful waves pulse in and out.

Also present is the suggestion of season. Those familiar with Pacific beaches know that a sandy beach in summer may be rock-filled during winter. Is the beach of La Playa the same as in All That Glitters, just seen in a different season?

Amid this continual transformation, Jenkins weaves a thread of constancy. The pattern of the waves, not seen here but felt, may be irregular, yet you can count of their reoccurence. And although the stones are individual in shape and color, they resemble one another. Like the waves, there is a pattern to the rocks. Tides, too, come and go, and along with the seasons, in predictable cycles. These patterns give the work an optimism--evoking a sense of nature's orderliness and harmony.

In the past, Jenkins intended that the rocks represent slain victims from the various Central American conflicts. However, without an explanatory statement this point is easily lost. What is not problematic, and reassuring in its familiarity, is the more universal interpretation. Whether the suggestion is the daily tides, the monthly tidal ebb and flow, or the seasonal movement of the sand, it is the cyclical character of nature--daily, monthly, seasonal--that emanates from these images.

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