17th February – 28th March 2024
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Jenny Watson writes, “An exhibition of 5 paintings is a good number, more intimate than a larger presentation of work. The title while referring to the number exhibited, also has specific connotations for each painting. I am not a jazz aficionado, but the exhibition title draws on a childhood memory. In the early 1960’s a relative used to play Dave Brubeck Quartet records.
Serendipitously I once met an English woman who had been very good friends with Brubeck’s son, Chris. She told me that the inspiration for the tune Take Five and its uncommon 5⁄4 time signature came from the persistent dripping of a tap on a water tank in California.”
These five paintings continue and expand Watson’s diaristic representations of her life as an artist, indivisible from her life itself, in its geography, its dreams, its fantasies and imaginings, its fears and its memories. Girl Dancing to a Record Player expresses the irrepressible joy of teenage life, even within the constraints of suburbia. It acknowledges Watson’s own sense of imagination and glamour that would play in animating her life to come. Her childhood bedroom, Bedroom Mont Albert 1962, becomes as big as the world in anticipation, or in retrospection of her world wide career. Cloaked by a Blackbird expresses the mythic capacity of Watson, to enter the world of psychoanalytic dreams and symbols. Her close association wth the natural world finds representation in the endowing of the bird a giant presence; its protection of her self. Winter directly portrays the artist in her natural setting, her horse paddock, her posture echoing her horse’s, however her concentration on her device is perhaps transporting her to her other life. Corner of Broadway and Prince Street New York 1991 represents the foreboding enormity of the city and the challenge that the artist invoked in entering the international arena with her paintings.
Since exhibiting Jenny Watson at Anna Schwartz Gallery’s first initiative, United Artists in 1986, the explorations of the themes in her paintings have made her a major figure in the world of international painting, highly valued for her innovation in painting itself, her minimalist figuration, her abstract organic planes of psychological colour and her searing portrayal of her self, the artist, in the world.