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Jenna Gribbon in The Paris Review

I encountered Jenna Gribbon’s Watching Me Swim (2018) on a corner of the internet called gay Tumblr, which is practically a tautology. It was a coup de coeur for me, seeing her work for the first time. Running through October 30 at Fredericks & Freiser, her solo show “Uscapes” comprises newer works. It’s no surprise that Gribbon’s girlfriend Mackenzie Scott (not that one), who performs music under the name Torres, appears as muse in every piece. This has become a hallmark of Gribbon’s work, as have lovely, messy domestic scenes—Scott clipping her toenails on the lip of the bathtub, for one—and cleverly composed, reflexive nudes. It’s easy to fixate on the details—the omnipresent neon-pink areolae, the intricately rendered folds of fabric, the glint of Scott’s fingernails as she props her hands in front of her vulva in one portrait, the fleshiness of a belly in another. These minutiae clash nicely with the works’ louder elements. Fat swipes of paint bear the memory of a brush’s grooves, and about half a dozen pieces on view are massive, like the nearly seven-foot-tall Interrogation Lightscape (2021), in which Scott appears as a kind of giantess, haloed by white light, sitting naked between a pair of thighs, holding eye contact. As we orbited the gallery, my buddy spun around and let out a laugh. “She’s always teasing us, you know. She’s making fun of the viewer,” they said, gesturing toward a painting of Scott pissing into the dirt. Toying with the voyeur—and with the tropes of figurative painting—is surely an energizing force here. Gibbon’s paintings emerge, in her own words, “from inside the scopophilic feedback loop.” —Jay Graham