b. 1951, Melbourne
Lives and works in Queensland
Jenny Watson was born in 1951 in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her Diploma of Painting, National Gallery of Victoria Art School, Melbourne, Australia (1972) and Diploma of Education, State College of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (1973). From 1978-1984 she was a Partner in Art Projects, Melbourne, (Artist run space). Since 2002 Jenny has been an Adjunct Professor, Queensland College of the Arts, Griffith University, Australia.
She has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally in countries including London, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, USA, Japan, Canada, UK, Vietnam, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and India. In 1993 Jenny represented Australia at the 45th Venice Biennale, Italy.
Collections include Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Artbank, Sydney; Australian Embassy, Washington; Australian Law Courts, Melbourne; Vienna Academy of Arts and Craft, Vienna, Austria; Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan. Jenny currently lives and works in Queensland, Australia.
"For 25 years my work has been concerned with possible relationships between text and image in a conceptual/minimal installation dialogue. I tend to work with selected fabrics of standard width that are then put aside until an appropriate image is found. These fabrics are usually standard dress fabric widths, and the length is cut to be roughly analogous to my height. These fabrics are sometimes stretched or left unstretched. I do self portraits, images of horses, highly subjective images based on memory that are then put with a text. The images are painted sparely for maximum effect. Sometimes horeshair, buttons, images from magazines are applied to the surface. The text could be snatches of dialogue from a film or a list of some personal significance. The text can be humorous, deadpan, highly emotional, found etc. One is left uncertain whether the text relates to the image. It is the dialogue between these random aspects of everyday life that I am interested in. In this way a space opens up between the text and the image."
I WOKE UP IN FRANCE
ARTIST STATEMENT -
These works were made in France over a two-month period in Marnay-sur-Seine, an hour east of Paris. The larger works took as their point of departure reflections on French culture of the recent past and today, painted on fabrics sourced locally. “French maid: French made,” uses an iconic film idea painted onto haberdashery cotton.
The small three-piece works are a new configuration, a combination of watercolour, canvas panel or small blackboard and pigment coloured Disney book pages sourced in Japan.
The chiffons and organza’s (curtain material) elaborate the theme of “layerings” also exhibited previously at Greenaway Art Gallery.
FIVE PAINTINGS ABOUT A MOBILE PHONE
ARTIST STATEMENT -
Jenny Watson’s women (often self-portraits) are always determined and even if they may look vulnerable they have an inner strength of character, like the artist herself.
Where the cigarette in cinema was used to show new, more confident women in the 1930’s / 40’s, through to the 60’s, the now ubiquitous mobile phone and its inherent social networking capacity empowers once again.
The linking of news items in the small text panels act as subplots and segues to connect the very personal with public affairs. Watson’s capacity to pare back complex social structures to a synthesized, deceptively simple statement, is nothing short of sublime.
UNDERCOVER (STATEMENT) -
By chance I met Pat and Howard Frederick in 1991 when I was planning my first show in New York. I met them in Albury, NSW, where they had been living for some years. They were about to return to the United States and invited me to come to Tucson, Arizona after my opening in New York. As a completely New York obsessed artist the rest of the USA was ‘til then a complete blur, but I took them up on their invitation. The plane descended in the vast desert with blue mountains framing the background, an old rusty steel tower with ramshackle letters announced TUCSON. I fell in love with the place immediately. Tucson and particularly the Frederick residence has been a home away from home when travelling since that time. Pat is a veterinarian, an accomplished dressage rider and trainer and artist. We had lots to talk about and we haven’t stopped talking.
The works in Undercover were made last December/January in the Tucson winter - blue skies, cold mornings, sunny days and walking from inside to outside studio spaces. During my stay I was looking back through a mist at my suburban Australian memories. Although I’d layered fabric over fabric before, there seemed now a necessity to further veil (or cover) the images psychologically and physically, accentuating distant and blurred memories, and as a step to challenging the traditional perception of the painted surface.