For more than four decades, Connie Jenkins has used water as both a subject and a metaphor. She recognizes the ebb and flow of tides, like the seasons and other natural cycles, as fundamental connections to our natural environment.

Her recent tide pool paintings bear a relationship to photo-realism, but, as Jenkins explains, in painting water, she has “tried to paint the visual patterns with which our brains construct images—a shared illusion.” The water is rippled and foamy, blurring and bending the shapes of the purple sea urchins and green anemone below.

By focusing on a horizonless bird’s-eye view of the water, Jenkins flattens the image, making it both an illusionistic representation of water, and an abstraction of paint marks that acknowledge the canvas as an object. The tide pool’s surface becomes the picture plane where illusion meets abstraction.