Language has always been integral to my art, as a source that informs it, as subject, and as a visual component. I’m a compulsive collector of books of all kinds— pulp fiction, science fiction, encyclopedias, poetry, art books, comics, odd self-help titles… I’m interested in the forms of language used in them (especially that bordering on the ridiculous), and the plots and ideas to be gleaned from them (more often the “bad” ones).
The Strange Woman and Seven Diamond Miners is a series of videos and prints created by “re-writing” a found book (The Strange Woman, by Ben Ames Williams) through the process of erasure. Mining the realm of pulp romance, the project is, in part, an attempt to present text as both image and narrative. The “Strange Woman” is revealed to the reader through the stories of seven men. Each man is a section of the book, and each becomes a stand-in for one of the seven dwarfs from the fairy tale Snow White
Mimicking the tourist town she hails from, Debra Jenks “creates her own visual brand of theater of the absurd as “incidents” or interventions in the public domain . . . amusing scenarios and tableaux that engage and entertain.” Her work has been shown at The New Museum, The Bronx Museum, Stux Gallery, Soho Center for Visual Artists, White Columns, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Hallwalls Center for Contemporary Arts, Ruth Bachnor Gallery in Los Angeles, and Kuf Mold in Rotterdam. She is a recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The Blue Mountain Center, Villa Montalvo, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. Her poetry and art reviews have appeared in Pierogi Press, LiveMag, The Brooklyn Rail, Downtown Express, The Villager, and Chelsea Now. She currently teaches at New Jersey City University.