Jenny Reddin Naturally Occurring.
These paintings are about abstraction.They beautifully demonstrate the art world’s obsession with that art form since 1911 when Wassily Kandinsky painted Picture with a Circle. Back then, Kandinsky talked about the emotional charge of colour – the lively confidence of red, of the capacity for yellow to be warm, exciting, disturbing or totally bonkers and that white seemed full of possibilities.
They’re all here…those emotionally charged colours, but like Jackson Pollock’s dripped paintings, part of the joy of these works is the way in which the paint has arrived on the canvas. The sometimes not so gentle art of paint pouring has been seen recently in New York with the work of Holton Rower and a version of it via Noël Skrzypczak’s Talking to Strangers at Heide in 2011. But even with the best efforts of surfing the internet, you will not see anything quite like the works that surround us tonight.
Jenny Reddin has been experimenting, developing and refining the chemistry of her own unique form of paint pouring for over a decade. I have the clearest memory of standing in her studio in the Yarra Valley some years ago and being seduced by her poured nude figures whose undulating forms echoed the surrounding hills of the Yarra Valley. The questions I asked then and incidentally still ask today were - How do you do that? Are the products and mediums mixed before they are poured onto the canvas or are they poured in their neat form so that the chemistry occurs on contact with the surface? How do you control the movement of the paint once it’s been applied to the canvas? These techniques and the mysteries that surround them only go some of the way to explaining the sublime appeal of Jenny’s work.
For, as is the case with all of the best painters through the vast centuries of art history, these works transcend technique. They are the result of Jenny’s ability to tap into her subconscious and allow it to hold sway… a brave but necessary move in the search for unique
images that speak to the soul of the creator.
I have the extraordinary privilege of knowing Jenny personally, of knowing something of the struggles and near catastrophes that have punctuated her life. I know for instance that with her husband David and her daughter Sashi she successfully defended their home against the worst of the Black Saturday firestorm. That event and the subsequent losses have not diminished Jenny’s resilience and positive spirit. That same resilience and sunny attitude has poured onto these canvasses reminding the viewer to hold hope with despair together . Any wonder that each time I have entered the Barn since this work was hung, I’m uplifted and reminded that the world is a wondrous place. The works represent a subconscious that is alive with possibility, rippling with hope and delight in the world.
If you would like to know more about Jenny Reddin, you have only to take in these spectacular canvasses to understand how she operates in the world. In that sense, the whole body of work is autobiographical. Thank you Jenny Reddin for so generously sharing your own particular light with the world via the paintings in this exhibition.
It gives me enormous pleasure to declare the exhibition Naturally Occurring open.