Skip to content
Colorful abstract diptych painting by Bill Jensen

Installation view, Bill Jensen: Wandering Boundless & Free, Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York, NY, 2024; Artworks © Bill Jensen; Photo by Argenis Apolinario; Courtesy the artist and Vito Schnabel Gallery

In the course of a 2007 Brooklyn Rail interview with Bill Jensen, his friend and fellow painter Chris Martin remarked that he had seen figures and faces in Jensen’s recent, ostensibly abstract, paintings, and asked the artist if he consciously painted these figurative images. Jensen replied that any such imagery wasn’t intentional, it was just that if things like faces appeared, he didn’t erase them. In any case, Jensen added, the only thing that mattered to him, the only thing he looked for, was “emotional content.” As a longtime viewer of Jensen’s work, I am familiar with how his paintings can, and often do, subtly evoke figures and landscapes. Indeed, this ability to conjure the feel and memory of places and the pose and weight of bodies without getting bogged down in resemblance is one of Jensen’s many strengths as a painter.