Top image: Jennifer Douglas working in Studio 2
Jennifer Douglas successfully applied to Art Gene’s Research Residency Programme through open submission. Whilst in residence at Art Gene she made full use of the large studio space to create new work in response to the town and landscape around Barrow and its islands. Characteristics discovered through detailed exploration are brought together to create a work which evokes Barrow whilst building on the visual language of her earlier works (see bottom of this page).
“I will develop ideas around ‘no-mans land’ or middle space, that are at present, an unknown yet very exciting element to my practice, in order to create a new body of work. I will explore and investigate the place, location, history and geography of Barrow and its surrounding areas.”
References to no-man’s land and middlespace suggest the ‘land’ between low and high mean water, wastelands and that between opposing armies; but also the ‘space’ between polarities of thought or within the conception and perception of a visual language/image. These ‘hinterlands’ and the hidden assets they contain are central to Art Gene’s ongoing enquiry and form the basis of several current projects within the social, natural and built environment.
Jennifer Douglas (UK)
These images were taken in my studio at Art Gene and document the progession of a large scale drawing entitled Underland III. I use a very visual vocabulary which, when brought together, forms an imaginative landscape environment in either 2 or 3 dimensions. I spent the first few weeks of my stay in Barrow really looking around, exploring the place and taking photographs of objects and scenarios which I thought were both visually interesting and quite specific to Barrow. These include large-scale machinery, wind turbines, chimneys, lighting and houses as well as less obvious things like painted lines on the road, building materials and barrier tape. Everything I look at feeds into the work I make, which in turn I aim to make stimulating and interesting to look at.
I use a variety of materials to make my works; paint, coloured pencils, coloured vinyl, acrylic sheet, rope, wool, rubber, wood and steel. I explore and experiment intuitively with these materials to create my drawings, sculptures and installations.
Colour plays a very important part in the work, and I use it to translate a shape of form that I have seen. I began this large drawing by painting large turquoise and pink mountains, which physically surround Barrow yet at the same time appear to ‘hug’ and protect it from elsewhere. Through the use of different materials these triangular mountain shapes then start to ‘come to life’ and have a more animated presence within the drawing. It is when these transformations begin to happen that I think the work starts to get exciting, because the mountains, through colour and material start to take on a new character in what I consider to be my visual story.
I make works at all different sizes so that when it is brought together in an exhibition the works start to have a conversation with each other. Underland III, pictured here measures 2.5 metres x 5 metres but I intend to show it with a collection of much smaller sculptures which measure approximately 10cm x 10cm x 10cm.