Jenny Watson

Three Graces
, 2014
Acrylic, Japanese pigment, tapestry and diamantes on Belgian linen
137 x 250 cm Click to enlarge


Born in Melbourne, Australia 1951

Lives and works in Brisbane, Australia


Jenny Watson is known for candid works that document her life and dreams. Her paintings reflect a particular emphasis on women’s experience by depicting female figures onto materials selected for their cultural significance, geographic origins and individual histories.

Over the past thirty years Watson has explored interior life with a personal iconography. Through her paintings we are offered a lexicon of horses, pets, friends, found phrases and everyday ephemera, together building subjective representations of the artist. Each work can be read as a conjunction of its textual and visual motifs, together with its title, but also in reference to her preceding body of work. The interrelation of these different elements in Watson’s work is not arbitrary. Rather, they are connected, as different elements in our lives are, at times strongly inter-related yet at other times fleeting or fragmentary.

Exhibitions include: ‘Painting, More Painting – Chapter 2’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2016); ‘Shut Up and Paint’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); ‘Chronicles’, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane (2016); ‘Beyond the Tower: UQ Art Museum – 40 Years and Counting’, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2016); ‘Radical Romanticism’, Crane Arts, Philadelphia (2015); ‘Pop to Popism’, Art Gallery of New South Wales (2014); ‘Garden of Eden & Child’s Play’, Galerie Transit, Belgium (2014); ‘Solitaire’, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria (2014); ‘Basil Sellers Art Prize 4’, Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne (2014); ‘Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); ‘Jenny Watson: here, there and everywhere’, Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne (2012); ‘Tomio Koyama Gallery’, Shibuya, Japan (2012); ‘Material Evidence’, Kunstverein Rosenheim, Germany (2009); and ‘Paintings with Veils and False Tails’, Australian Pavillion, Venice Biennale (1993).

Public collections include: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Ghent Museum, Belgium; and Monash University, Melbourne.





Jenny Watson

Definitions: Velvet + Text

Jenny Watson


Jenny Watson


Mutlu Çerkez, Emily Floyd, Marco Fusinato, Mike Parr, Rose Nolan, Peter Tyndall, Jenny Watson, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, Tom Nicholson, Ian Whittlesea, Grant Stevens

, Carriageworks

Jenny Watson

Jenny Watson

Works made in Sri Lanka

Jenny Watson

Made In Perth

Jenny Watson

Jenny Watson


Recent Works

Jenny Watson

Planet of the Apes
, 2017
Oil and acrylic on red velvet; acrylic on panel
Text: “An orchestra was on television”
144 x 81 cm; panel 18 x 14 cm

Jenny Watson

, 2017
Oil and acrylic on red velvet; acrylic on panel
Text: “It was raining in Tokyo”
144 x 99.5 cm; panel 27.3 x 19 cm

Jenny Watson

Girl in Sneakers
, 2017
Oil and acrylic on red velvet; acrylic on panel
Text: "On arriving in a new town, I always bought a new mascara (maybelline)"
144 x 110.5 cm; panel 33.3 x 24.2 cm

Jenny Watson

, 2017
Oil and acrylic on red velvet; acrylic on panel
Text: “She was in the city and ran into an old friend. In chatting they discovered that they would soon be in the same European city on the same day. They arranged to meet”
144 x 90 cm; panel 29.6 x 42 cm

Jenny Watson

White Cat
, 2017
Oil and acrylic on red velvet; acrylic on panel
Text: “I went to a zoo. I really don’t think I can do that again”
144 x 90 cm; panel 21 x 14.8 cm


Jenny Watson

, 2016
Griffith Artworks


‘Hard Feelings’ at the Honeymoon Suite

From The Memo Review
by Anna Parlane

When The Honeymoon Suite opened in 2016, it was with Rose Coloured Glass, an exhibition of work by four artist couples that flirtatiously invited viewers to guess who was dating whom. Rose Coloured Glass wondered: can romance blossom from a shared passion for abstraction? Or vice versa? The Honeymoon Suite was established as a platform to bring emerging and […]

Jenny Watson

From Artforum, November 2017
by Toni Ross

Since her first solo show in Melbourne in 1973, Jenny Watson has been one of Australia’s most notable expressionist painters, able to invest images and text with psychobiographical vitality. “Jenny Watson: The Fabric of Fantasy” was the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, including more than one hundred drawings, prints, and paintings […]

Retrospective of Jenny Watson’s primitive style strikes a chord

From The Age, 10 November 2017
by Kerrie O'Brien

For Jenny Watson, who grew up in sleepy Mont Albert and then the Dandenongs, coming into the city to study art was a gamechanger. It was the 1970s and inner city Melbourne was a hot bed of creativity. The emergence of the music scene in particular was revolutionary, with St Kilda as its epicentre. “There were droves of […]

Jenny Watson’s ‘The Fabric of Fantasy’

From The Saturday Paper, Edition No. 167, July 29 – August 4, 2017
by Patrick Hartigan

At her best, Jenny Watson is less a painter of things than a generator of energy. Her works aren’t about their content so much as the field of time through which that content briefly rides. This is particularly the case when her compositions lose their centrality, when the shapes, smears and drawn reveries drift to […]

Jenny Watson, The Fabric of Fantasy

‘JENNY WATSON: THE FABRIC OF FANTASY’ 5 July – 2 October 2017 “Jenny Watson is a leading Australian artist whose conceptual painting practice spans more than four decades. Curated by MCA Curator Anna Davis this survey exhibition features works from the 1970s to the present, including examples of Watson’s early realist paintings and drawings, and a number […]