Jenna Gribbon - New Now Hong Kong Friday, March 29, 2024 | Phillips
  • “I've always been interested in this thing of ‘seeing people being seen.’ Like, watching people present themselves to be seen and how it's a little bit different than seeing someone who is not expecting to be seen.”
    — Jenna Gribbon

    The present lot Untitled  by Jenna Gribbon depicts the artist herself and a male figure, likely the artist’s then partner, immersed in a pond, with the water clearly reflecting the sky and brushes nearby. This work is a compelling piece from the artist’s earlier period that aligns with her preoccupation with the intimate act of gazing. Gribbon’s brushwork shows similar fluidity as female impressionists who also captured fleeting moments, such as Mary Cassatt in her work Two Women Seated by A Woodland Stream. Gribbon incorporates her personal narrative that has become distinctive in her body of work. Born in 1978, Jenna Gribbon spent her formative years moving between Tennessee and Georgia. It was during a school trip when she encountered Impressionism, which sparked her enduring fascination with capturing moments in the fleeting time.



    Mary Cassatt, Two Women Seated by A Woodland Stream, 1869, Private Collection


    In a way, the depicted scene is intimate without being objectifying, as Gribbon also encourages the audience to engage in a moment of shared serenity rather than voyeurism. The captured moment is filled with intimacy and comfort, as one could sense from the emotions conveyed through the figures. Thus, the viewers almost become part of the scene as well in this shared moment of pleasure.


    On the canvas, one observes Gribbon’s skills in the delicate and precise rendering of the figures. Her colour palette is harmonious, combining naturalistic colours that reflect the surrounding water, sky and bushes with unanticipated interruptions of the tree branches covering the foreground of the painting. Although this early canvas is free from the flamboyant pinks that frequently adorn her later works, one can already sense the beginning of Gribbon’s desire to explore the combination of vibrant colours with her concept of gazing.


    “People who are absorbed or actively engaged in an activity make the best subjects.”
     Jenna Gribbon

    The harmonious integration of the depicted couple with their surroundings alludes to a sense of oneness with the nature. This smooth integration is reminiscent of the romantic landscape paintings from 18th century Europe. Overall, the present lot alludes to Gribbon’s intention to challenge the conventional eroticised gaze that is prevalent in the course of art history. In an understated yet potent display of agency, the subjects are absorbed in their own experiences rather than directly confronting the viewers. The scene, is almost inviting in a way that is valued by Gribbon as the artist’s involvement transcends mere creation to encompassing active participation.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Turtle Pond

oil on linen
91.5 x 121.5 cm. (36 x 47 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2010.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for HK$508,000

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now

Hong Kong Auction 29 March 2024