Fallen: Jenny Kitchener

Fallen: Jenny Kitchener

Jenny Kitchener reflects on her new exhibition Fallen.

27 June, 2024
In Exhibitions,
Printmaking, Q&A


Jenny Kitchener

Burnt offering, 2024, monoprint, soot, 36 x 32 cm, unique print.


Mourning portraits I-V, 2024, reduction linoprints on foil, various-sizes

Memento-mori, 2024, boxed reduction-linoprints, 12 x 12 x 1.5 cm

Memorial installation [detail], 2024, monoprints, various-sizes

Tableau, 2023, collage, 50 x 30 cm

Q: What were some of the foundation ideas for this exhibition project?

A: My artwork is motivated by concerns for the future of the natural world. Many organisms worldwide are now endangered or vulnerable because of detrimental human impacts such as the clearing of native vegetation, competition with feral animals and exotic plants, the high frequency of fires and floods and the consequences of climate change.

Q: How did the artwork selection take place?

A: I have lived on a rural property in the Northern Rivers part of NSW for over forty years. Unfortunately the Northern Rivers area is no different in regard to threatened species.  In the exhibition Fallen I present a glimpse into what the future may hold for some Northern Rivers endangered or vulnerable animals. The focus is on five threatened local animals which have been selected from five major animal groups: the koala (marsupial); the jabiru (bird); Stephen’s banded snake (reptile); the green and golden bell frog (amphibian) and the birdwing butterfly (insect).

Q: How does the exhibition manifest – what do visitors experience?

A: Process and concept inform both the content and intent of my artwork. I select whichever techniques, forms and presentation enable me to express my ideas in the best way. In this exhibition the manner in which the work is presented is particularly important.

Much of the artwork in Fallen is exhibited in ornate found frames which are an integral part of the work: artwork and frame work together as a whole and inform and furnish the prints with another layer of meaning; that of a precious family portrait.

Q: What are some of the key works and what subject matter do they deal with?

A: This is apparent in the Mourning portrait series, which references the Victorian trend of photographing deceased loved ones as a way of remembering them. In this series, small delicate linocuts of the bones of the deceased animals are lovingly framed and hung on the wall in an act of remembrance.

In the installation Memorial, the format of the artwork is used as an important signifier. The artwork consists of many oval monoprints of various  sizes, arranged within a large oval shape on the wall. The oval shape has often been used to frame and enclose portraits of people and I have appropriated this tradition and extrapolated it to enclose and ‘frame’ the skeletons of our endangered animal family members.

The layering of imagery in these monoprints also references the process of dying, decomposition and loss, as the skeletons intermingle with plants and soil. I have also incorporated ‘ghost’ prints, taken from the original monoprints, into the installation; these images leaving a ghostly ‘trace’ of what once existed.

Q: What is it about the printmaking experience that you most appreciate?

A: It’s always the end result which I love: prints possess a certain look and feel which I find alluring and satisfying.  I prefer certain printmaking processes over others. I particularly enjoy monoprinting as it encourages more experimentation within the printing process itself. Small reduction linoprints are a process I also like to work with. Large scale linocuts give me the room to juxtapose different imagery, mainly appropriated, in order to create a narrative and tell a story.

Fallen, Jenny Kitchener, is at Northern Rivers Community Gallery, 44 Cherry Street, Ballina, 26 June to 18 August. Opening: 5.30-7.30pm, 27 June.


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