Jennifer Letchet Paintings

My work explores fundamental elements of painting, the relationship between colour and line. I intend my paintings to affect the viewer optically with the illusion of shapes moving and receding. Colour theory is very important to my work. I use specific hues to symbolise ideas or emotions. The contained shapes on canvases seem more like objects than lines. My recent work explores natural and man-made disasters and the impact this has on our environment. I want to record the changing landscape through simplified shapes and colours.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Last week in the Wimbledon MA studios

In the run up to the final show and MA assessments, I've been busy working away finishing paintings, curating the space I share with 2 other students, painting floors and walls!  It's been a very exciting but stressful time, and its only just dawned on me that its ending.  My work has really developed and changed over the last year.  The exhibition space works well; Paul, Inguna and I have curated our work together.  We wanted to avoid the cubicle type show.  We have common themes within our work; all three of us interpret the landscape in some way.  Inguna's work is more eco themed, Paul draws intricate pieces focusing on light and my work looks at the earth's topography in a more abstract sense.  In the room next to us lies Fiona's work and the colours of her abstract cascades work harmoniously with our work.  Here's a few photos of how the space has been changing from studio to exhibition, with a little taster of what is to come in the show next week!

For more information about the MA show, please go to 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

New Work for the MA Show 02.09.11-08.09.11

For the final show, I have been making a series of works on the changing topography of the Earth.  These topographical changes can either be manmade or due to a natural disaster or event, such as floods, and climate change.

I have been experimenting with different fomats for the show.  I believe that in order for a show to be successful, it needs to have variety and surprise to make it interesting for viewers.  Viewers need to feel captivated and intrigued.

My last piece, River Hirose [above], used egg tempera on boards to take a temporal narrative and give it weight.  The quality of the boards make the pieces look hard and solid like stone, making the work look weighty and timeless.

I wanted to play with this idea further and enhance the sculptural quality of my works.  To do this I have doubled the depth of my boards from 4cm to 8cm to bring them out further from the walls.  I want them to have a physicality about them which imposes on the viewer.  There are three of these boards which make one piece and convey three steps in time.

I have also created an archive with twelve smaller boards [36 x 36 cm] which have many different narratives from the man-made lakes in Egypt, which are now evaporating due to climate change, melting glaciers in Alaska, and the disappearing Maldives.  I wanted to form a collection of many topographical changes from across the world.  I wanted to chase the media and find current temporal events and disasters which have shaped our landscape.

My third piece, is a 20 cm cube made of wood and treated with the same gesso as my paintings.  I wanted to create a precious object, which although very small and displayed on the floor, is precious because it is small and delicate.  I am planning to exhibit it behind a corner, so that the viewer may even misplace it, and some may stumble across it with surprise.  The imagery is almost of less importance to the substance of it.  The piece is elusive, subtle, and conveys a record of a moment in time: a frozen topography.

Within this space, are three other artists with similar themes as my own to create an interesting dialogue between ecological issues and the formal elements of painting.

In conclusion, my work is about caputring and recording the change in topography.  By showing changes in time, the temporal nature of topography is revealed  The colours remain muted and pale to highlight the transient nature of landscape.  I have used pale hues, almost white, that seem to blend into the gesso background because I want the effect to be subtle.  I want the shapes to appear and disappear as contours and boundaries move.

The three different formats, offer different perspectives on one general subject and within those formats new and more specific issues come to play: ecological, political, and geographical themes.

I want my work to be a form of mediated abstraction.  I believe abstraction is the best format for art which is ecologically charges as it offers the viewer a chance to interpret and reach an opinion for themselves.

Review: High Arctic at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

I went to see the High Arctic exhibtion at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich with high expectations.  I have been studying and watching the Cape Farewell projects and ventures with great interest since starting my thesis research.  I am fascinated by the Arctic with its harsh desolate weather conditions, dangerous creatures, and hostile landscape.  David Buckland has been leading and orchestrating Cape Farewell since 2000, and it was with great anticipation that I awaited his new show.

The show is in the lower ground floor of the Museum and takes up a fairly small room.  On entering the space, you are handed a torch, heightening my excitement, for I am still very familiar with my inner child.  As you enter the space, you are faced with complete darkness and on the walls and floors there is text and lines written/drawn in UV paint which are invisible until your torch finds them.  This show is about exploring and interpreting for yourself; personal experiences and interaction with the Arctic.

Firstly, you reach a corridor with a timeline of all the key moments in the history of the Arctic.  These events are of historical, ecological and political importance.

The show feels like a labyrinth of sugar cubes and white towers.  It feels very reminiscent of Rachel Whiteread's exhibit at the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern.  These towers represent glaciers and on top of each, lies their name.  I enjoyed walking around, getting lost in the Arctic and trying to understand and pronounce the strange and alien names of the ice glaciers.  In and amongst these glaciers, lies digital floor projections which can be interacted with torches.  You can melt ice and create snow storms.

This was an innovative experiment.  The exhibition brought awareness to the Arctic visually without large amounts of text, research and reading.  However, the show only lasted about 20 minutes, there was only one room and not alot of variety.  It was a one trick piece, and my disappointment showed.  The Arctic is an important piece of the Earth and its survival is of the upmost importance.  This show allowed me to connect with the Arctic, therefore, as apiece of activism, it worked tremendously well.  However, as an art exhibtion, it fell flat.  My eyes wanted variety, they wanted the show to do more.

Review: Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Serpentine Gallery

Before going to see Michelangelo Pistoletto's show entitled The Mirror of Judgement at the Serpentine Gallery, I will admit I did not know his work, but was intrigued by images of work and the intrinsically sculptural quality of his work.

On entering the exhibition space, I was confronted with a labyrinth of cardboard.  Cardboard weaves in and out of the exhibtion rooms.  Walls seem impervious and invisible, the space becomes one long space in which I snake through.  The cardboard leads you to small intimate spaces where you are faced with objects to contemplate.  In one space I was faced with myself, in the form of a mirror.  This is meant to provoke a reflection upon reality.  I don't think this aspect of the work particularly worked.  When confronted with myself, I do not see society, I see myself, bedraggled.  Other objects worked much better I thought.  There were references to Buddhism, the landscape and machinery.  I think due to the nature of these objects, I was able to associate them more with society; as these objects were more symbolic with their references to religion, consumerism, labour and the environment.

This exhibition felt calm and contemplative.  The show was to be experienced, to be absorbed slowly and peacefully.  The content and associations made were therefore, poignant and long lasting.  The subtlety and simplicity of the show was its strongest attribute and made a considerable impression.

Review: Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone at The Haunch of Venison

Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone make for an interesting show at The Haunch of Venison.  Haunch of Vension occupy a magnificent space behind the Royal Academy.  The large grand rooms with high ceilings offset Long's sculptures brilliantly.  The land art gets lost in the expansive rooms.  The magnitude of the pieces dissolves and you can see them in relation to each other.  The space here offers greater room for dialogue between the works.  The sculptures lie in front of wall drawings and text about the landscape, further einforcing the importance of nature,and our relationship to it.

Long and Penone's work sit in different rooms, yet they flow from one to another.  Penone's work seesm more abstract and autonomous than Long.  On all four walls hangs large canvases constructed from four canvases.  At first glance, they appear to be black matte canvases with metallic paint.  Yet on a closer inspection they reveal themselves to be graphite pencil on black paper. The shapes and mark making on the paper feel organic and fluid.  They seems natural as though drawn from the landscape.  

However, the marks are more like patterns random that grow organically out of the process of drawing.  Whereas, Long's work is about land and nature foremostly, Penone's work is more about the formal elements of drawing: mark-making, line, process, colour, and materials.  The graphite on black is successful, because initially the drawings appear as abstract colour field paintings.  Yet as you walk around the space, the marks and patterns reveal themelves to the viewer as the light reflects and transforms.

On the whole this show feels really well thought out and curated.  One artist, Long, is a strong champion of landscape and nature in art, and his work has been shown alongside Penone's subtle reflection of nature through abstract two-dimensional works.  A show which requires the viewer to have time to explore and experience it. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wimbledon MA Show 2011

My MA graduate show is at Wimbledon School of Art from 2nd-8th September.  The private view is on Monday 5th from 6-9pm.  It will feature my new topographical egg tempera paintings.  

Have  look at the online catalogue to see other participating artists;
For details on how to get to the show and more info;

River Hirose

This is how the my painting River Hirose looked in situ.  This piece looks at the topography of Sendai, Japan, before and after the Tsunami of March 2011.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Topographical Prints of the Arctic

I've been particularly overwhelmed with writing recently: my thesis and my research folio, and so I haven't been painting as much as I would like!  But, I have been doing some printing to sell at my MA show at Wimbledon School of Art.  Below are some of my etchings I have printed.  I have used gold and silver ink to give a sense of weight and importance to the image.  The prints are of temporal media images of changes tot he Earth's topography.  The appearance of the Earth is constantly changing due to man-made and natural events of considerable importance.  Boundaries shift, locations move, even disappear and habits change dramatically. These prints are records of changes seen over time.