HOMESCAPES | JENNIFER AHMAD
“I want to try to paint like how you remember things. I want to get the way your investment in your lived space and your attachment to people mess up your identity and your boundaries slide and mix. Motherhood struck me like a detonation – I don’t know about other people - but my personhood totally exploded and your relationship with stuff – ‘the other’ - gets seriously disturbed, it collapses and fuses into everything. I wanted to stop painting academically and start trying to develop a way of depicting that, my lived experience and my inside world” ~ Jennifer Ahmad.
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ARTIST STATEMENT: Jennifer Ahmad is an emerging artist whose highly coloured paintings of interiors and quiet domestic scenes create an enigmatic and excited world of attachment and love. Jennifer’s paintings of small daily routines like her kids sleeping, or having a bath, or family meals, try to represent the quixotic experience of cloistered motherhood and family life, creating very simple but highly charged scenes of intensity and intimacy, where small moments and ordinary objects are transformed and blurred, with the careful observation of affection, transfigured as mysterious and beautiful. Jennifer’s paintings are strongly informed by studying with Idris Murphy at the College of Fine Arts and his focus on a romantic, poetic response to seeing and awkwardness in approach as a way of re-figuring the real world and everyday events. Idris’ interest in romance and the processes of memory and depicting subjective experience of place informs Jenny’s current painting works and she is trying to develop this interiority and translation of a psychological landscapes or scenes. Further, she is trying to incorporate the ideas of Symbolists Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard and their approach with Intimisme and a psychological way of painting which is concerned with the phenomenology of space. Painting and drawing images from around her home and half-seen rooms, interrupted by glimpsed children, husband and sometimes herself, Jennifer’s recent work tries to develop a way to depict the weird, wonderful and wonky world of family life, with its elongated time, peculiar rhythms of childhood and simultaneous isolation and companionship. But further Jennifer’s dark-lit interiors and hyper-coloured wavering forms depict a particularly female subjectivity where identity and relationships are elided, disappear and combine. Everyday things and rituals are transformed and become strange and re-named, through suggestion and mistakes, hesitation and fragile drawing, then elaborated with electric colours and unsure paintwork. Ordinary things and scenes of suburban modern life become re-seen, surreal and strange.
SHORT FORM BIO: 2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sculpture & Painting, CoFA, UNSW 2000 Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honours (1st class, 1st), Sociology, University of Sydney Achievements 2014 Peg Minty Prize for Landscape, Artists Association of Canberra 2006 Artist’s assistant to Biennale artists Susan Nori and Fiona Hall 2006 Gallery assistant, Mori Gallery, Sydney 2005 Artist’s assistant to Jennifer Turpin 2004 College Zine Editor, Students' Association, CoFA 2003 Emerging Artists & Designers Award, 2nd, KUDOS Gallery, Surry Hills Link: List of previous exhibitions (PDF).