Jody Sunshine grew up in post-war suburban Queens. As a teenager, she attended the High School of Music & Art – and Manhattan opened up for her. Once she crossed that bridge, there was no turning back. Her life and artistic vision were forever impacted by the distinctly vibrant music, art and social milieu that was New York City in the 1950s and 60s. Her work evolved from an early phase of abstract expressionism, maturing into a heightened reflection on suburbia. Gone but not forgotten, her early life has been absorbed and transmogrified into a completely unique “Sunshine World”, populated by a cast of colorful, iconic characters of indeterminate speciation, adrift in vivid surrealistic tableaux.

Sunshine’s biomorphic bunnies are good, evil, neutral and chaotic. They coalesce into a mutant mouthpiece, uniquely formed to vocalize the “garden-variety” angst, pathos and confusion that so completely pervades our culture.

Sometimes a bunny is not just a bunny, but something closer to a phoneme in Sunshine’s intensely evocative visual language; born of, and intent on examining that irresistible tension between normalcy and hallucinogenic visions of grandeur, which we call The American Dream. From bunny penises to the bleeding souls of housewives, her pieces jolt us repeatedly into a new appreciation of an oft clichéd period of our country’s history. A juxtaposition of pink and cuddly with shocking gravity, her view from the underbelly provides a perspective on the American middle class, past and present, unlike anything seen before.

An active and inspired artist for over five decades, Jody Sunshine was born in New York City and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She attended Boston University, Parsons School of Design, The Brooklyn Museum School, and received her MFA from New York University. Sunshine taught for twenty years at the LaGuardia High School of the Arts before moving to New Mexico with her family in 1995.

TALES FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS

November 2015

JODY SUNSHINE

curated by

AIMEE GWYNNE FRANKLYN