Jenny Watson: The Fabric of Fantasy

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 (Photograph: Anna Kucera)
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Photograph: Anna KuceraJenny Watson: The Fabric of Fantasy – installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art
Jenny Watson 1
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'Self portrait as a narcotic', 1989
Jenny Watson 2
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'Rockstar', 2014 (detail only)
Jenny Watson 3
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'Scarlett O’Hara with a budgerigar', 2014
Jenny Watson 4
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'Sleeping beauty', 2016
Jenny Watson 5
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'I’ve got a dirty pig on my mind', 2013

This survey of the Melbourne-born Queensland-based artist takes in more than four-decades of practice, and an idiosyncratic vision

In her catalogue essay for this exhibition, curator Anna Davis quotes artist Jenny Watson describing her oeuvre as being the act of "[filtering] the life of a suburban girl through a conceptual lens".

Using her daily experience and personal history as the subject, Watson paints female figures in a naive style, often with text alongside – thus deconstructing the idea of a 'painting' as a realist, singular image. Often these works are created on fabric.

It hasn't always been so: in the early 1970s she painted in a realist style, using photographic sources – before transitioning to a more distinctive, personal style, influenced by the conceptual art movement. Watson's early work was also influenced by Melbourne's 1970s punk scene (evidenced in this exhibition by a 1977 portrait of Nick Cave, an art student of hers at one time) and New York's 1970s feminist movement.

This survey exhibition will take in almost five decades of practice – from work made in the early 1970s, to new paintings.

By: Dee Jefferson

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