Jennifer was born in Windlesham, Surrey in 1963 and completed her Foundation course at WSCAD, Farnham in 1982. Subsequently she went on to Bristol Polytechnic where she graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art and History of Art in 1985.
After graduating from Bristol Polytechnic life then took its varied twists and turns and it is only recently, whilst living and working in Darlington, Co. Durham that she has been able to return to her passion for painting. Juggling with her family life and coping with the recent loss of her son after a long period of illness, she works from her studio in beautiful Teesdale.
My work explores contemporary life through figuration and the relationship between ourselves and the natural world. Seeking to interpret this through the medium of painting, questioning how we internalize and ultimately externalize our experiences, my imagery is gathered from a variety of sources. These include sketches, photography, writing, paintings and memories. The resulting work is autobiographical in essence and reflects meaningful themes throughout my life encompassing grief, loss, identity, joy, love and the multitude of complex relationships we all encounter. At times there is poignancy to my work, but this is typically countermanded by a sense of hope.
My sketchbook is my most valued companion throughout my work. Sometimes an idea is sparked by a chance glimpse that catches my eye and triggers a memory or feeling. An idea will formulate from this which I will scribble down and constantly refer to as it takes form on the canvas. Recently I have started to incorporate the use of digital manipulation as a part of my process, as a means to juxtapose a photo or memory with the here and now. This coupled with my use of colour is important in achieving the outcome of my starting point.
Identity, Behind the Wall, Breaking Through, She Danced to Her Own Beat
These three pieces examine and explore the theme of sudden loss of identity. It is a
subject close to my heart after losing my only child who was only 28 when he gained
his angel wings. They are expressions of not knowing who you are any longer as, in
my case; my role of mother had been taken away. There are lots of ideas swimming
around in these pieces with imposed structures and societal norms of perception
holding us back. The brickwork is an allegory to this.
Recently I was speaking to a stroke victim who also described this loss of identity as
they struggled to rebuild their life again. A new slate is both terrifying and a gift. This
is very much an ongoing project.
Going into the depths of winter and at its bleakest moment, the first glimpses of
growth begin giving hope and positive light for the future. Knowing that Mother
Nature is nurturing all of us gives a surreal form of comfort which is warm and
welcoming, like the first rays of the spring sun looking down and
encouraging the new life springing up from mother earth. Some of the themes behind this include a mother’s tenderness as they tuck their child up in bed, to rest and sleep as the earth does over winter. Mother Nature is seen with what looks like a blanket lovingly
tucking the earth up allowing rest and the hope of rejuvenation which follows with
spring. I liked the idea of the womb and seeds being one and the same.
The inspiration for this piece is from a photograph of my son holding his new born
niece. The tenderness and power of the image struck me. We quite often assume
that this tenderness is fundamentally the right of mother, female, woman; the
feminine role in nurturing. To me this image shows us it is human regardless of
gender. There are several layers of relationships within this and a reference to
Craigie Aitchison’s ‘Crucifixion and Mountain,’ perhaps the ultimate metaphor for
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek is about childhood memories and the games we used to play.
Counting to 100 without taking a sneaky peek I think was too much to ask of any
child! I hope I have captured that sense of thrill and excitement before the hunt
for those hiding begins. I wanted the scene to be outside in nature rather than in
an indoor setting, reminding us of the emotions and sense of feeling alive. The
little boys’ penetrating stare is asking where the child in you has gone.