8/03/2008 — 26/04/2008
Grundy Art Gallery presented a major exhibition of drawing, sculpture and installation by Gateshead based artist Jennifer Douglas.
Douglas’ practice includes an intuitive, playful process of making, exposing the artist’s wonderful sense of feeling for material and colour. Her materials are selected for their distinctive qualities: brightly coloured wood, rope and acrylic sheets. Pointy, fat, thin, small, tall, bright coloured objects, standing upon pools of latex, or hung or leaning against the wall, producing densely filled, luminous spaces that employ an ambiguous layering of depth and focus.
The immediate sense of playful intuition belies a more rigorous and demanding investigation of ‘matter’ and its conceptual significance. Key to the work is Douglas’ ongoing exploration of colour: colour inherent in and applied to the found object, and in relation to architectural and sculptural space.
The title of the exhibition is taken from the novel ‘The Never Ending Story’, written by Michael Ende. Fantastica is the fictional world in which the novel begins. This reference to a fictional world alludes to the artist’s view of her practice as the realisation of artworks that have evolved from the edges of the familiar to something more magical through the creative decisions of her imagination.
Douglas’ process for making work begins with her drawings, constructed using the technique of papier collé, favoured by Matisse during his late career. Shapes are cut from paper, wood, coloured vinyl and acrylic sheets, and then layered. For Grundy, Douglas reconstructed a drawing entitled Underland, to ambitious dimensions, produced during the artist’s residency at Art Gene, Barrow-in-Furness.
The artist’s drawings provide her with a method to more easily experiment with materials, allowing the unexpected effect of different materials to provoke new directions, and suggest starting points for her sculpture, creating a dialogue between one and the other; a kind of map from which the viewer can negotiate their way around the artist’s imagination.
Jennifer Douglas was born in Amersham, England in 1975 and studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle, before completing an MA in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the UK and abroad including Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Tramway, Glasgow, Hales Gallery, London, Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and Tensta Konstall, Stockholm.
The exhibition was funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.