Jennifer Whitten Negative Space

Opened by Jon Cattapan
Artist and Academic, VCA, University of Melbourne
26 February – 12 March 2016

Jennifer Whitten <em>Rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbines, rue, daisy and violets</em> (detail). Oil on perspex and steel.

Artist statement

For years, my artistic investigations have navigated the aestheticisation of absence and loss, nostalgia and regret. Most recently, after an encounter in Italy with a collection of 18th Century reverse glass paintings, I determined the glass would be an ideal conduit for the communication of these themes. The interruptions, the lacunae within the painted surfaces demand the viewer’s contemplation in a manner usually reserved for positive space; however, it is only by the fractured framework the paint provides that a viewer might accept the virgin glass as lacunary.

The challenge of painting in reverse and on a surface like glass has been truly stimulating—an impetus to consider possibilities beyond the boundaries of traditional painting surfaces.

The inclusion of steel was a pivotal moment in the development of this current body; its rawness, severity and weight proved capable in the role of Atlas to support the autobiographical pith contained within the works. The interplay of paint, glass and steel welcomed a fractal of other manifestations, including the incorporation of video, music and complex installation.

Jennifer Whitten Website