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.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Brief Art Exhibition Drawings 15.02.2012

My work is being shown at Brief Art in February 2012.  This exhibition is raising awareness and funds for St. Margaret's Hospice.  The proceeds of all sold work will be donated to the hospice.  The two drawings below are of my featured work in progress as I prepare to submit my work for the show.  One image is of the recent floods in NewJersey in October 2012, and one is of the beautifully frightening dust plumes occurring off the coast of Alaska.

Mantoloking Bridge: New Jersey


Dust: 23.10.2012 Gulf of Alaska


New York Flood Drawings

Drawings on the floods from New York in October 2012.  These floods devastated the East coast of America.  These drawings focus on parts of New Jersey, which was severely effected by the flooding.  The topography and landscape completely changed, and became so distant from itself.  

In these drawings I explore the shapes of destruction created by the water.  I am exploring the changing landscape caused by disaster, natural and man-made.

Mantoloking Bridge 31.10.2012, graphite on tracing paper, November 2012, by Jennifer Letchet

Dust Drawings 27.11.12

Drawings of dust plumes off Alaska and Eritrea.

Dust: Eritrea Plumes 21.20.2012, graphite on tracing paper, November 2012 by Jennifer Letchet

Dust: 23.10.2012 Gulf of Alaska; Flour, graphite on tracing paper, November 2012, by Jennifer Letchet

Greenland Glacier 11.2012

New drawings on environmental changes: Flooding, Dust and Glaciers.  These two drawings are of my new piece on the changing contours of Greenland due to their melting glaciers.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Review: David Nash at Kew Gardens 31.10.12

From June 2012 until April 2012 British Land Artist David Nash is showing his sculptures at Kew Gardens.  From the off, this seems the ideal setting for Nash's work, but for me I struggled to find the work, it got lost in the hot houses, camouflaged amongst the tropical plants and trees.  When you do happen upon a sculpture it was in an intimate manner; the sculptures are secluded, enshrouded in the undergrowth.

Nash creates his works from nature: using a chain-saw, an axe and a blow torch he carves, chisels, cuts and blackens his sculptures.  The black tones give depth, and an almost painterly touch.  The rough angles and deep cuts give a sense of formal masculinity akin to the good old days of Minimalism.  It evokes images of Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Tony Smith.

The monochrome clean lines and shapes which lie between organic and geometric contrast with the green wilderness of Kew.  Simultaneously, his sculptures herald from nature and seek to merge with it.  They embrace nature and almost seem to want to living and growing organisms themselves.  The real contrast is of the living breathing plants and the deadened and hardened wood sculptures.  They embody death and sit like headstones in dense and beautiful hot house.

I recommend making a visit to see Nash, as with the changing colours of Kew, the sculptures seem to become more lived in, and the overall aspect changes, as the landscape develops.  His work can be seen dotted around the hot houses, larger sculptures are found in open spaces and smaller works are exhibited in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery.

Please see below photographs of David Nash's work, as well as of the aspects of Kew Gardens.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Review: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View by Jon Rafman

The Nine Eyes of Google Street View by Jon Rafman has been shown at The Saatchi Gallery since July, and I found it so impressive I saw it twice.  These photographs taken by Google Street View's 360 degree camera have captured moments, the mundane, and the horrific.  Some photographs, the seagulls are particularly impressive, would be in ordinary circumstances near impossible to stage or to capture.  Through the thousands of photographs taken by Google, Rafman has found, and more importantly chosen the most outlandish, funny, and beautiful images.

With its supposedly neutral gaze, the Street View photography had a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer... capturing fragments of reality stripped of all cultural intentions. - Jon Rafman

These 'photographic incidents' have been highlighted and displayed to the public.  They feature all aspects of our existence, from the depraved characters we ignore, the examples of poverty, the lack of morality, and the flukes of nature, the inconsequential beauty of nature.  All of these images were deemed unimportant, not noteworthy by Google.  But here by Rafman, the y are given the status of works of art.  The Street View button icons at the top of the image remind the viewer that these were not intended as art, they are supposed to be 'functional' images.  The viewer is caught between art and non art.  We are reminded that the artist was not the photographer, but in actuality the orchestrator of an exhibition.  And yet this does not matter either, for he did create these images, not with his hand but his idea, and his installation.

Is creation important, does ownership matter?  I think the product is most important, and without Rafman's ingenuity I wouldn't have seen such accidental wonders.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Review: The Little Black Jacket at the Saatchi Gallery 28.10.12

Strangely, I was alerted to Saatchi's most recent exhibition by Grazia Magazine.  Grazia does fashion and celebrity stalking well; but art and culture, I never expected to see.  The exhibition has been thoroughly publicised and received a high level of interest.  When Chanel has a show, the public flock.  I went to see Chanel's (or rather Karl Lagerfeld's) The Little Black Jacket exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery today, and unfortunately it's last day showing in London.

I had expected to see a minimal room, classic Chanel monochrome, the history of the the LBJ, and opulent glossiness.  To my surprise, Karl Lagerfeld has taken over the whole of the first floor of the Saatchi Gallery.  The whole get up seemed a trifle disorganised and simple to almost basic.  I am used to seeing immaculate displays at Saatchi.  Saatchi also values the minimal, no labels, no titles, and barely any information.  You don't go to Saatchi for education, it does not try to bring art to the masses, it's about high art.  Therefore, Chanel the home of high fashion, chose the most suitable and exclusive setting in London.

However, the immaculateness was not there, the curators did not seem to have had viewers in mind when they curated the show.  The information was pinned on the wall behind you as you enter, meaning you only read them when you left the show.  And even then, it was nearly impossible, for the queue for the free poster was blocking any view you could of had of reading it.  So I missed the pearls of wisdom Karl may have offered.  In addition, the glossy photographs, and large monochrome frames were no where to be seen.  It almost had a student show feel with the photographs printed on newsprint and pinned to the wall with pins, yes pins!  I like the simple displays, let the art speak for itself, however, this was an exhibition on a budget.

I imagine that for a travelling international show, the pinned work will get easily destroyed, probably thrown away for each show and reprinted for the next (let's not even get into the environmental impact of this).  Therefore, what value does this 'art' hold?  Is this even an 'art exhibition', or merely Lagerfeld's folly?  Is this art, or a reflection of mass consummerism?  The gallery was buzzing with the middle class, tourists, and fashion conscious teens.  It wasn't so much of how does the art look, but photograph me with the art, or lets skip the art and get a free poster.  The public flocked, not to see Chanel's most recent product or to evaluate the 'Little Black Jacket', but to be seen seeing the Chanel show.

As for the Little Black Jacket, it was an ode to Karl's rich and famous friends, for clearly no normal person can own one.  The purpose if the show was to celebrate the long reign of Chanel's versatile Little Black Jacket, and to show how it can reflect the personality of the individual.  Various models, actresses, actors, singers and socialites were photographed by Karl himself.  They had been choreographed and styled to convey their personality.  I think the most effective, was of Anna Wintour.  She had her back to the camera, but with her iconic bob and erect back, she was unmistakable as the Vogue editor.  However, other photographs seems more of a homage  to fashion, rather than the focus on personality.  Some modeled the jacket with the matching skirt, and more outrageously some wore it as a bandeau and a cloak.

Was the show a success?  It was a success for Chanel, for Karl and for fashion.  It was a thorough celebration of the little black jacket.  But was it an art success?  No.  It was an art catastrophe, it attempted to speak in the language of art, but it gave away its art to every visitor (those willing to queue for 45 minutes, just to resell on ebay).  It wasn't about high art, about stimulating and provoking the viewer, it was a tribute to consumerism, a gift to fashion fans, a bait to reel them in for more.  For me it was a disappointment, the highlight was spotting the Chanel handbags go by.

I would like it to be noted, I haven't felt it even worth mentioning Karl's photographs of Yoko Ono on the first floor.  If you missed it, you were fortunate.  I love Chanel, but it shouldn't get involved in the realm of art.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

How to develop my topographical paintings

I have been considering where to take my work, after my recent paper drawings, I created [and just finished this week] a drawing on gesso.  I had not tried this before and really liked the quality and feel of the graphite on the hard smooth surface of gesso.  Some pencils, depending on the softness, reacted differently in tone and quality of line which I found interesting.  The softer the pencil, the easier it was to make marks.

I have been working with satellite images of change in topography for nearly a year now, and I want to take it further.  I feel my next step it to work on a particular site/media story for a series.  With earlier works I would create a series of drawings or paintings of media events around the topic of topography but not intrinsically lined together by say one catastrophe or one type of disaster e.g. earthquakes.

Do I continue to work in gesso?  What does gesso add to my work?  I have now successfully used oils on gesso; do I want to abandon egg tempera?  Will the outcome be the same with oils?  Do I need paint or could I just use drawings?  And If I do draw, why not revert to paper?  These are all questions I need to resolve and experiment with.  I am not overly concerned but excited, as for the first time I feel comfortable with my work and continually interested in the subject.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Review: Mimmo Paladino Exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery 27/03/2012

The new Mimmo Paladino show at the Alan Cristea Gallery is somewhat disappointing.  The gallery is a charming gallery on Cork Street, London.  It has been host to celebrated artists, but Mimmo Paladino's work seems a bit amateur in comparison.  This seems a highly pretentious comment to make, but not unfounded.  His work shows a poor example of watercolours and makes a considered effort at injecting some complexities and concept with the use of assemblage, numbers, abstract heads, landscapes and doodles.  There doesn't seem to be any consideration or theme running through the work.

Review: Anselm Kiefer Exhibition at the White Cube 21/02/2012

Il Mistero delle Cattedrali

This exhibition was the largest show of Kiefer's work to be seen in London.  The title of the exhibition is taken from Fulcanelli (published in 1926), which claimed that the Gothic cathedrals of Europe had openly displayed the hidden code of alchemy for over 700 years.  Kiefer's allusions are never literal but reflect his interest in the mystical and material.  Both title and exhibition reflect Kiefer's fascination with the transformative nature of alchemy. 

The White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey is an impressive location for Kiefer.  The magnitude and scale of Kiefer's paintings deserves a space like this.  White Cube's gallery space in Bermondsey has the clean lines, minimal structure and impersonal grandeur of a Berlin gallery.  Kiefer's work which is rich in symbolism, layers of meaning and associations requires the blank canvas which White Cube provides.

As you enter the gallery space, White Cube have presented Kiefer very differently from their last show of his work.  There is no literature on the walls or formalised labelling for works.  Each work has a bold statement/quote taken from Fulcanelli as the title written above each piece as an emblem for the work.  Each title is hand written in flowing charcoal letters has if pronounced by the artist's own hand.

Each piece of work has its origins in landscape - whether it be a sculpture or a painting.  The paintings have the physicality and presence of a sculpture.  His work continues to lie between 2D and 3D.   His work sits between painting and sculpture, his material practice is not defined, but he presents his work in a variety of 2D and 3D installations.  For me, he is an installation artist.  His work is immersive and captivating.  They present the mystical and mysterious in a sense of heightened reality.

His work shows a labour intensive process of layers of paint and materials, with each layer adding new meaning and depth.  The muted colours and visibly rough textured brush-marks emphasise Kiefer's raw and evocative visions.  On the whole, this exhibition presented Kiefer's work a a statement to be seen and interpreted as it will.  There was no tip-toeing around the audience, which for me felt fresh.  Art today is to concerned with being accessible - spoon feeding the meaning to the audience, treating the public like children.  We should respect the intelligence of the audience and allow them to interpret work and forge their own opinions.  Bravo White Cube.