Jenny Wheatley RWS NEAC.
The Memory Rooms
Tuesday January 25, 2022
As well as the new Brighton and Sussex paintings this show strongly features other venues close to my heart, including Havana, India and the Scottish Highlands.
All the paintings I do are a vehicle for the use of paint, whether it be watercolour, oil or acrylic, and my love of the process and the things I learn from every painting I produce.
I was lucky enough to have been invited on an expedition to India and Ladakh some years ago. Before lockdown I had the opportunity to return to Rajasthan with the advantage of memory and a knowledge of the things I might see, which helped me focus. As I travelled I drew and absorbed everything I could, including situations I noticed and interactions that touched or intrigued me. I love the ancient and intricate architecture and the many layers of architectural change within the buildings and their facades, the acceptance of the people in the face of what is often huge hardship, and the link between a rich cultural past and present. The images are a dream for me to play with, using the layering of paint to try to capture that taste and smell so resonant with the country and its landscape. There is a human grandeur as well as a cultural and architectural one in the motifs both past and present and they present a constant source of intrigue to me.
In Havana the architecture also represents a long history of struggle and life stories, and as with India there seems to be a proud and upbeat tempo to the people who occupy these often now derelict buildings. I enjoy the more African and primitive pattern that is present there and the opportunity it affords me to play with colour combinations that I hope convey the joy and magnificence of the people and place that I feel there.
Closer to home the Scottish Highlands are still very much about the people and sense of history and well-trodden lives that resonate there. The imagery that draws me here, is more aligned with the starkness of the landscape and the glorious silence and sense of space in such a remote corner of Britain. The little bothies that stand proud and firm in the landscape seem so much like the people who once, or still, occupy them. They seem comfortable in the remoteness and happy to be subservient to the glorious and overwhelming lovely landscape and seascapes that surround them.
And of course there are those “through the window” paintings that are the perfect excuse to capture the ever-changing expressions of my faithful old dog in the studio, the landscapes, seascapes and views that I see every day, and the colour and decoration that I have collected to me over the years of travel and observation.
What a great job to have!