Jenny Lin is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Montreal. Her practice centres around experimental narrative, including autobiography, fiction and autobiographical fiction. She has created alternative readings of mainstream narratives, particularly reframing the ambiguous and fragmented tropes in storytelling as sites for transgressive actions and identities. Using digitally-rendered and hand-drawn imagery, she uses print media, video or web-based platforms to explore formats including 2-D print, artist books and zines, single and multi-channel video, installation and interactive web projects. Some of her book projects were created in collaboration with Eloisa Aquino as B&D Press. Jenny Lin completed a BFA degree at the University of Calgary (1994-98) and an MFA at Concordia University (1998-2001). She currently teaches at Concordia University as a sessional instructor in the Print Media Program Area.
Storytelling is a unifying thread in the work of Jenny Lin. She often develops narrative-based projects that refer to and examine familiar tropes or formulaic plot devices of mainstream television and literature, using these pre-existing structures, at times, to fast-forward through a narrative up to the points of difference. Working from these structures, she inserts personal narrative, ambiguous actions, strangeness and banality in order to challenge expectations, invert intention or bring focus to alternative readings and uses of certain narrative tropes. Recurring themes that run throughout her practice include queerness, erotic fantasy, grief, failure, discomfort, awkwardness, and overturned relationship hierarchies.
Rather than clear-cut linear narrative events, her work offers fragmented descriptive details of ambiguous tableaux. The viewer is dropped into the midst of a scene and must try to put together the pieces or fill in the gaps to complete the narrative and find meaning within it. By doing so, the viewer becomes implicated in advancing a narrative or presuming meaning despite having incomplete signs.
Her influences have included pop culture genres of storytelling such as horror, alien sci-fi, and melodrama, genres which peak her interest as landscapes ripe with the possibility to envision the "unimaginable" and to exaggerate the familiar so that it becomes foreign and extraordinary. Within the context of these genres, she has been interested, also, in the contradictions that occur when the strange and unimaginable are formulaically created so that they run full-circle and become somehow predictable and commonplace.
In more recent works, her focus has been on less fantastical forms of storytelling and more to the everyday as a setting for her narratives.