I was very excited to see that Claudia Jowitt was exhibiting this month. Her latest (and only second solo) exhibition Liberal Application is at Bath Street Gallery; tucked down one of the meandering streets of Parnell and dangerously close to Vaniye, a French patisserie.
A substantial show with 26 impressive new works, Jowitt explores notions of potentiality and becoming in the painting process. Jowitt has described how painting is an arena where each action can potentially bring about entire change, that there is life within the marks on canvas which turn it into a palpable story of its own creation. Essentially what we are shown are artworks that contain the vestiges of paint at play, an account of all the possible directions that emerge in their genesis.
Skilfully employing both acrylic and oil paints in subdued shades of white and other muted hues, it can be easy to glimpse past her work, especially when displayed against white walls. However Jowitt’s paintings require being looked at; in fact, I found their unassuming monochromatic palette actually demanding attention. The subtle modulations along the pastel coloured spectrum skirmish for recognition and regard.
Jowitt has applied paint with liberal generosity, and the paint itself has dispersed liberally across the canvas. The vacillating brushwork made up of intensely thick, toothpaste-like impasto that squiggles and squirms, contrasts areas where an airy brush has scantily licked the surface. She has applied paint past the edge of the canvas, all around the sides, giving the impression that these works extend and connect beyond the canvas or paper. This is evident in a number of her paintings for instance, Legato I – II (both 2016, acrylic and oil on linen, 500 x 550 mm).
As you pause before the tactility of Jowitt’s art, expanses reveal and hide, tantalising the eye. Ridges emerge casting penumbral veils over painted plains when the works are viewed at a distance. On some of the artworks, such as Sway (2016, acrylic and oil on linen, 350 x 300 mm) the exposed linen canvas adds to the eye’s attempt to decipher, as it disrupts the daubs of white. The longer you look at her paintings, the more your initial thoughts and interpretations shift. In a way, the gratification received from Jowitt’s work is slow releasing. I think if I were to visit this show again (which I likely will) I would see something different and new that I may have missed before.
An astounding exhibition with loads to see, Liberal Application is on at Bath Street Gallery, Parnell until Saturday 2nd April 2016. As part of White Night, the gallery will be open from 5:30 – 10pm on Saturday 12th March with DJ Johnny Elbo from Yam Jams playing a live vinyl set 🙂
Jowitt was recently named the 2016 Tautai Pacific Artist in Residence at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. I can’t wait to see what she does next!
For info on the exhibition, please see Bath Street Gallery’s website:
Quite a good interview with Jowitt from 2014 can be found below:
Enjoy! And don’t forget White Night is coming up very soon 😀
˟Update 08.03.16: Artsdiary have posted some photos of the opening, check them out here http://artsdiary.co.nz/79/2088.html
˟Update 02.08.16: A great catalogue accompanied this exhibition, featuring the artist’s conversations with Amber Wilson, Kara Wallace and Lisa Rayner. The section with Wilson, Feminine Painting/Painting Feminine, has been made accessible through the Melanie Roger Gallery website and Pantograph Punch http://melanierogergallery.com/media/media/files/2016_05/panotgraphpunch_april2016_pdf.pdf
 ‘Claudia Jowitt Dunedin Air,’ Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, accessed March 6, 2016, http://www.tautai.org/detailsnews/news-claudia-jowitt-2016-dunedin-air/