Horses, Hollywood Love and Sleep
21st May – 11th June 2022
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Jenny Watson’s art makes the personal feel universal and, conversely, the universal personal. In Horses, Hollywood Love and Sleep, she takes recognised symbols and images and imbues them with the intimate.
The line between experience and daydreams is deliberately blurred. The actuality of the moment is irrelevant. Scenes of her life (imagined, real) are romantic in their simplicity and vivid in their impact through the use of Japanese pigment. In these works, colour – ever bolder, ever more psychological – is a character in its own right, the narrative of each frame enhanced by its assertion.
These are works done at leisure. Created from the forced stasis of time in lockdown, they are a quiet prompt, an invitation to sit with the poetics of nostalgia. Watson’s ever-keen and tender observations of everyday life offer a break from the idea that the natural response to crisis is chaos. Rather, these new paintings invite something far more significant: contemplation.
She ruminates on old Hollywood tales; on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; on the elation of the first time atop a horse; on quiet, private spaces shared by humans and animals. These motifs are not new for Jenny Watson. They are immediately familiar, their symbolism an expansion of a visual language that the artist has spent her career composing.
This repetition of theme and image has defined Jenny Watson’s work for more than forty years. Through this exploration of her life, in Horses, Hollywood Love and Sleep each scene is a dream shared.