I have always drawn and painted and written stories. My process is always changing and evolving. I aim to map real and imagined spaces, drawn from my own experiences and dreams. My work approaches the concept of the unreal through the depiction of imagined space.
My inspiration comes from many different sources. I am often asked why I make the work that I do, but with so many ideas, how could I not explore them?
My writing often informs my work and my thoughts. When creating images, I examine aspects of the narratives that I create. These elements translate as colour, texture and depth in the image, and the only obvious reference to my story may be in the title of the work.
Found materials have an important role in my work. Many of the models I make involve recycled constituents, and my studio is full of items that have washed up there. The torn edges of paper and cardboard, crumpled forms, crushed packaging, parts of objects or other seemingly useless things can become significant in the generation of ideas when placed together in the studio context. I believe that there is also an element of play involved in creation. Something new can be imagined during an apparently boring or pointless experience. Some of my recent work illustrates this.
I started creating these paintings after peeling the paper coverings off my wax crayons. The particular brand of crayon I had bought meant that they were not smooth, cylindrical forms, but were instead polygonal, so that the removed papers had multiple, small indentations along their length. Their scale and appearance suggested to me the texture of corrugated metal. In addition to this pattern, the colouring of the paper was interesting. The inner surface, which lay next to the wax crayon, was originally white, but because the crayons had partially melted and then solidified in the hot sun, the paper had become translucent from the wax and stained with some of the crayon colour. The small print from the front of the labels was also variably visible. All of these incidental things made unique scraps of paper, and I started involving them in my sketchbook pieces and then in larger, more developed paintings, where I think they mostly resemble sheds or unusual buildings in the distance. This process is shown in the series of images below.
Once I have developed a technique, it continues to change. The process itself can inform new ideas and future work. The wax paper element continues to interest me, but I have also explored its removal, as illustrated in the painting below. Aspects of my practice may disappear or reappear.
Although many of my paintings and models are depictions of the unreal or imagined forms, directly observed drawing is fundamental to my practice and is something that I will always love to do.
This year I was honoured to be selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition, which is currently on in the Jerwood Space in London. This drawing was a spontaneous piece of work – I was invited to draw whilst modelling in a life drawing class. As the model, I experience the setup from a unique perspective: from within, as a dynamic part of it. This knowledge in turn informs my drawing when I observe a composition from outwith it. In the studio, I make small models to draw – usually from found materials – that may influence a painting.
Images I see when I am outside are also important: both new places and routes that I take every day with my dogs. Techniques from my other works may be referenced, so that the image is a depiction of a real place with some imagined aspects. The viewer experiences the work by placing their own knowledge in its context.
My scientific training also provides me with ideas, often unexpectedly. I recently graduated in veterinary medicine. At university I particularly enjoyed pathology and histology, where preserved body tissues are examined under a microscope. Cells naturally appear almost invisible and so must be stained and then illuminated to allow them to be seen. Different structures and cellular arrangements pick up varying amounts and colours of stain and create characteristic patterns. Each slide is unique, often abstract. Bright images are created and explored. I am fascinated by their appearance – they suggest so much life, and yet every cell there is no longer alive. Some of my new work involves this concept: the difference between the living cell and the dead, and how large or small that distance may be.
Words and Art: Jenny Ross
CURRICULUM VITAE – Jenny Ross
Name Jenny Aileen Myron Ross BVMS MRCVS
Born Aberdeen, Scotland, 1989
Citizenship Dual nationality: Scottish and Canadian
School St Margaret’s School for Girls, Aberdeen (1994-2007)
University University of Glasgow, Bachelor of Veterinary
Medicine and Surgery (2007-2013)
2006 Aberdeen Artists’ Society Annual Exhibition, Aberdeen Art Gallery
2009 Aberdeen Artists’ Society Annual Exhibition, Aberdeen Art Gallery
2010 North East Open Studios Exhibition, Kinellar, Aberdeen
2014 North East Open Studios Exhibition, Turriff, Aberdeenshire
2015 The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 134th Annual
Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
Aberdeen Artists’ Society Annual Exhibition, The Suttie Arts Space,
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition and Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
Jerwood Drawing Prize and Exhibition, Jerwood Space, London
ArtAboyne Annual Exhibition, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire
North East Open Studios Exhibition, Turriff, Aberdeenshire
Paintings and Drawings Group Exhibition, Newave Gallery, Aberdeen
She lives and works in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Categories: Art Diaries