Artist Jenna Rose Simon uses graphite on paper to create evocative and emotionally layered self-portraits. As a result of her sexual assault as a child, the artist has battled chronic anorexia, the psychological scars and physical repercussion of which she probes in her work. The tonal grey palette, blank backgrounds, and writhing compositions of her emotive drawings convey the internal demons and external anxieties with which Simon struggles, but her highly personal experiences are made universally relatable.
In Every Touch Leaves a Mark and Alone, Simon reveals the bitter struggle of an assault survivor. Fearful and fragile, the artist depicts her own contorted and anguished body as a site of transgression. Simon’s To Let You In, or Not is a visual manifestation of emotional baggage, the artist donning a literal mask to shield her real self from the world. Meanwhile, Security is a self-portrait in which the artist grips a teddy bear, a disembodied reminder of love. In her drawing titled You Are Loved, the artist depicts a simple act of self-care in the form of an iPhone reminder. Utilizing a colorful palette, the artist makes visible the small, everyday acts that contribute to healing. Finally, in You Can Find Love Anywhere the artist draws a widely-smiling face with binoculars, a beach paradise reflected in the lenses. The playful composition is a heartening reminder of the powers of inner strength and personal growth.