Jen­ny Watson
Def­i­n­i­tions: Vel­vet + Text

24th March – 21st April 2018
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Made in Japan, these are the first paint­ings on red vel­vet since Jen­ny Watson’s Paint­ings with Veils & False Tails’ in the Aus­tralian Pavil­ion, at the Venice Bien­nale in 1993. Now, fol­low­ing her com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey exhi­bi­tion Jen­ny Wat­son: The Fab­ric of Fan­ta­sy’, at the MCA and Hei­de Muse­um of Mod­ern Art in 2017, Wat­son con­tin­ues her ongo­ing explo­ration of the inter­ac­tions of text and image.

Here she has drawn on famil­iar imagery. Boy­band is rem­i­nis­cent of her 1977 por­traits of Nick Cave’s first band, The Boys Next Door; Plan­et of the Apes, reflects her per­son­al con­nec­tion to hors­es as a dres­sage rid­er; Girl in Sneak­ers, the revis­it­ing of girl­hood and Bird, her recent inter­est in the behav­iour of birds. These dis­tilled images are ran­dom­ly jux­ta­posed against diaris­tic text pan­els, cre­at­ing an imag­i­na­tive space for the view­er to inter­ro­gate the artist’s intent and engage in reflec­tion and analysis.

In a for­mal sense, Wat­son aban­doned the pic­to­r­i­al grid long ago, leav­ing behind her real­ist begin­nings and adopt­ing the con­cep­tu­al style of the idio­syn­crat­ic loose brush strokes she has become renowned for over the past four decades. There nev­er­the­less remains a grid-like struc­ture behind the work upon which key motifs are placed and revis­it­ed to con­jure mem­o­ries linked to emo­tion­al states. This grid is like a flex­i­ble web, lack­ing the rigid sup­port of the axis of time, allow­ing the past, the present and the future to over­lap. Min­ing her own fan­tasies and expe­ri­ences, Watson’s imagery does not fol­low a lin­ear pro­gres­sion. There is a sense of the time slip­page that occurs in dreams and mem­o­ry as motifs are repeat­ed­ly revis­it­ed and remain in a state of flux.

Images

Jen­ny Watson

Boy­band, 2017
14487 cm; pan­el 27.322 cm

Jen­ny Watson

White Cat, 2017
oil and acrylic on red vel­vet; acrylic on panel
text: A friend didn’t like mak­ing desserts But she said that every night when they were watch­ing TV, they had a piece of dark choco­late. It sound­ed so cosy!’
two parts: image: 14487 cm; text: 27.322 cm

Jen­ny Watson

Bird, 2017
14499.5 cm; pan­el 27.319 cm

Jen­ny Watson

Plan­et of the Apes, 2017
14481 cm; pan­el 1814 cm

Jen­ny Watson

Skater, 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’
two parts: image: 14487 cm; text: 29.642 cm

Jen­ny Watson

Girl in Sneakers, 2017
oil and acrylic on red vel­vet; acrylic on panel
144110.5 cm; pan­el 33.324.2 cm