Black Mountain College Exhibition Artist – W. “Pete” Jennerjahn
by Jason T. Perry
The Asheville Art Museum is preparing for its latest exhibition Geometric Vistas: Landscapes by Artists of Black Mountain College, which will open on August 6. Two works are by former BMC student and professor, Warren “Pete” Jennerjahn.
Based on the title, Through Studio Windows (Paris) seems to be Jennerjahn’s view of Paris’s landscape while working in a studio. The viewer can easily place his or her self beside Jennerjahn gazing onto Paris. The shapes of the buildings rectangles in the sky shows that Jennerjahn placed careful thought into the geometric image his painting would have.
Through Studio Windows (Paris) is Jennerjahn’s earlier work of the two, made in 1951. Jennerjahn used oil on Masonite surface to create this landscape. Masonite is a type of hardboard made of steam-cooked and pressure-molded wood fibers; it was mass produced in the 1930’s and 50’s. Initially used for construction, artist gravitated towards it for its smooth surface although it is no longer commonly used because of its deterioration.
Jennerjahn’s second piece featured in the exhibit is West Fork I. Made in 1994, it is obvious that Jennerjahn had perfected his technique with geometrical images. West For I shows a greater complexity than his 1952 Through Studio Windows (Paris). The landscape changes from rectangular structured city buildings to a curvy yet rigid outdoor setting that was painted with oil on canvas. Although West Fork I seems to be more complex than his earlier piece, both images are unique and stunning in their own way.
In 1948, Pete Jennerjahn came to Black Mountain College as a student on the insistency of his wife Elizabeth “Betty” Jennerjahn. Betty had previously attended the college in 1944 with great success. Jennerjahn originally enrolled in Josef Albers’ art course but quickly became Albers’s assistant already having a master’s degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin. Once Albers left the school, Jennerjahn and his wife became full time faculty members until 1951. They founded the Light Sound Movement Workshop, in which they developed short theater pieces using projected slides, painted backdrops, music, dance and verbal texts.
Both landscapes will be on view August 6, with an opening reception on Friday, August 5, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Artwork above: Warren “Pete” Jennerjahn, Through Studio Windows (Paris), 1951, oil on Masonite, 24 x 19.6 inches, Black Mountain College Collection, Gift of Warren P. and Elizabeth Jennerjahn, 2012.33.07.21
Artwork Below: Warren “Pete” Jennerjahn, West Fork I, 1994, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches, Black Mountain College Collection, Gift of Warren P. and Elizabeth Jennerjahn, 2012.33.12.21.