Jennifer Packer’s paintings and drawings combine observation, memory, and improvisation. Featuring over thirty works from the past decade, The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing is the largest survey of Packer’s practice to date. Her intimate renderings of friends, family, and flowers evoke the art historical genres of portraiture and still life, while also highlighting the politics of representation.
Her paintings, most recently seen at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the 2019 Biennial, slide between the fidelity of depiction and the freedom of abstraction. This avowal of both clarity and opacity endows her paintings with the same complexity she sees in the Black sitters that populate her art – and the world. “My inclination to paint,” Packer has said, “especially from life, is a completely political one. We belong here. We deserve to be seen and acknowledged in real time. We deserve to be heard and to be imaged with shameless generosity and accuracy.”
“All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it,” reads Ecclesiastes. “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” Jennifer Packer’s largest exhibition to date takes its title from this biblical verse. The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing at the Whitney Museum acknowledges the limitations of form – and of beauty, of art, of depiction – to capture the stories and sorrows of portraiture.