'Feed the Models!' Feeds minds

Jane Gennaro speaks to admirers at the reception for her work on Sept. 30 at Adelphi University.

Abstract human forms, perfectly poised and impossibly thin, welcomed visitors into the Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts at Adelphi University on Sept. 30 for a reception honoring their creator, Jane Gennaro.

‘Feed the Models! is Gennaro’s latest series of artworks and utilizes radically altered pages cut from fashion magazines to illustrate society’s image of the female form.

The gaunt, waifish figures, which line the exhibit’s hallway, create a surreal nightmare of a runway. Each figure is posed in bizarre yet delicate position, as if frozen in dance. All that remains of their former airbrushed selves is the occasional bulbous pair or feet, lips or hands.

A Long Island native, born in Rockville Centre, Gennaro is a woman of the arts. She studied at the State University of New York at Fredonia and Cortland, and has made a name for herself in New York City.  Gennaro began her career as a professional artist as an illustrator for magazines and books.  Gennaro has worn many hats, including actor, writer, cartoonist, sculptor, voice-over artist, and illustrator. In the late 1980’s that Gennaro began to keep introspective visual journals, which she still uses today in her creative process.

‘Feed the Models!’, first saw the light of day through a monologue which Gennaro preformed on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.  Gennaro opened by saying, “I want to love models, I want to feed them and take care of them and make them better…” Gennaro went on to show ‘Feed the Models!’ in Manhattan at the World Monuments Fund Gallery where it caught the attention of Eliz Alahverdian, director of exhibitions at Adelphi University.

“Initially when we saw her packet we were intrigued by other works, but then we saw ‘Feed the Models!’ and thought, ‘this would work perfectly with our gallery,’” said Alaverdian.  “We knew it would do very well with our students, our faculty,  and the administration… it’s got a good message to it, yet it’s nice and whimsical at the same time.”

Gennaro, surrounded by both admirers and her family who came to support her, couldn’t agree more.

“Well I am a Long Island girl, and I love the idea of this particular series being viewed by college age students,” said Gennaro. “One thing that’s fabulous about Adelphi is that they have this facility that grants them the ability to produce a show really of museum quality.”

Gennaro first began playing with the idea of cutouts after she and her husband returned from a trip to Paris. One afternoon when the couple was leaving the Musée D’Orsay Gennaro caught sight of a street artist, who for a small fee would take scissors and in a single go cut out a silhouette.

“I started playing with cutting out magazines, then it became sort of an obsession. It went from literal pictures of them to just taking the media into my own hands and distorting it just as the media itself is distorted.”

“The real pleasure of holding the paper and cutting it, is turning it into what I don’t know… but something that is satisfying to me, and not imposed on me, something that had come out of my own feelings.”

Gennaro firmly believes that art has its own language, and that it speaks differently to each individual that views it. However she can not help but hope that those who see her works leave with a new awareness of how woman are portrayed in society.

“I just want people to be aware that, [fashion magazines] are created images, that when we see a picture of a woman in the magazine… it’s really not that woman, the object of it is to sell a product. It’s not a reality and it’s not something we should aspire to be.”

Gennaro’s works will continue to be on display at Adelphi through Tuesday, Oct. 26, Sunday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m, for free.  For more information visit: