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Jenny Watson is a major figure in contemporary art whose work continues to command an international audience engages by its freshness of execution and the gentle humour and eloquence of its highly individual imagery. This selection of works on fabric recall times past. Watson’s works are drawn from images of her life and from her dreams. Her unconventional approach to painting combines colour, text, figures and recurring motifs, to create a meaningful narrative. While the combination of images and text encourages the viewer to draw their own conclusions from the disparate pairings Watson offers.
Alice in Tokyo, 1984
Self Portrait as a Little Girl, 1987
Cat on a Letterbox, 1989
Angels Heap, 1992
Cat on a Hay Bale, 1993, Synthetic polymer paint on Indian cotton over canvas with rabbit skin glue; synthetic polymer paint on pre-made canva,s 91 x 61cm, 25 x 20cm
Mare and Foal, 1993
Objects of Desire - 60s Guitarist, 2005
Watson, who has been painting for 30 years, has been recognised nationally and internationally through exhibitions and her work has been collected by all state galleries and other major public collections.
QCA Director Simon Wright said the exhibition, Material Evidence: Jenny Watson, Works on fabric 1981-2005, showed Watson's move away from the conventional use of canvas, to painting on fabrics such as Vilene (a fabric used by dressmakers), Chinese organza, French bed sheet, taffeta, hessian and velvet. He said the exhibition featured works with prestigious exhibition histories.
"The taffeta painting Angel's Heap was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1993, while Self-portrait as a Little Girl was displayed at the 1988 Australian Perspecta. The red velvet painting, Mare and foal , is similar to works that appeared in Watson's first New York showing in 1991." Mr Wright said the works featured subjects that had been central to Watson's work for many years."In the majority of Watson's works, subjects appear to float on a blank background, reflecting her concerns with abstraction and minimalism. By abstracting subjects from a pictorial 'background' Watson opens up a new range of associative possibilities. This is further built on by the use of disjunctive texts."The works in the exhibition are drawn from several significant streams of work, which feature recurring motifs such as the cat and the horse. Watson has had a long fascination with and love of horses. The horse also has rich mythological associations that are connected to the search for freedom and the release of energies. "A key element of the exhibition is the inclusion of works that use text, either within the main image panel or in separate panels. The slippages of meaning between text and image link Jenny Watson with a strong lineage of post-modernism."