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Jennifer Goodman

About Jennifer

Jennifer Goodman is a Melbourne based artist whose practice is concerned with the beauty of abstraction, both geometric and organic.  Her paintings are pure explorations of colour and form, and are separate from any representational references.

Jennifer is a regular finalist in art prizes and has work in public galleries in Australia and private collections in Australia, UK and USA.  She is represented by Gallerysmith in Melbourne.

Interview

How do you describe your work to others?
My work is about pure abstraction and is separate from any representational references.  It’s a sensory exploration of colour, tone, line and form, which develops through my search for beauty, tranquility and a state of equilibrium.  Like music, it can’t be explained but needs to be experienced.

Do you have a preferred medium?
My preferred medium is oil painting although I do also work with paper collage and to a lesser extent, needlepoint tapestries and digital prints.

How do you begin new work?
I generally have a fair idea of the composition of my work before beginning a painting or collage.  This plan has often evolved from, references and continues on from previous work.  Many of my paintings are made using my collages as studies and many of my collages are made using my painted compositions in their inception.  I draw an image on to the canvas in charcoal and then, once I’ve fine-tuned the lines, go over this in pencil.  I then begin to paint in thin coats, building up the layers.  As it progresses, the new work and its layers do change a great deal.

Do you tend to work in series or do you see your body of work as a continuation?
I certainly see my work developing as a continuation although I find that through natural progression, each body of work does tend to have its own variation and identity.

What do you use as reference material?
My work is about pure abstraction and doesn’t have any representational references.  It all comes from within.

Do you work intuitively or more consciously?
Both – I have a conscious approach when beginning a work but then progress intuitively, allowing the work to gain a life of its own and lead me on.

What’s your favourite colour to work with?
One of the pleasures I have when working is in challenging myself to use the broadest variety of colours in the same work.  My colour choices are intuitive and individual and it’s extremely rare for me to use paint straight out of the tube.  I mix my paint to get the specific match to what I imagine.

Where do you create?
I’m lucky enough to have a purpose built studio in our back garden.  The white walls and pale grey floor provide an ideal neutral space.  It’s a solitary environment.

Do you have a studio ritual to start the session?
Not really, but I like to know that my studio is in order before I begin.  It gives me peace of mind and allows me to concentrate.

What’s your favourite music to work to?
There’s a variety of things I listen to.  These may include music, radio national, podcasts, youtube recordings and audio books.

Do you enjoy coming up with titles?
Yes, although they don’t come easily.  I do put a lot of thought and consideration into titles and they’re important to me.  I like to feel that they stand as an accurate reflection of how I feel about each work.

What’s your favourite part of creating?
I have two favourite parts of creating.  The first is when the work starts to get a voice of its own which directs me in its progress.  The second, not surprisingly, is when I have completed a work, am happy with it and feel it’s resolved.

What advice would you give to your emerging self?
Be open and true to yourself… and keep working.

Have you ever worked with a mentor?
No although I do love reading about and listening to how other artists approach and view their practice.

How do you alleviate the down times?
The most important thing for me to do when experiencing a down time is to remind myself that this a recognisable pattern, which I experience periodically and that it will pass.  It’s part of the process and I just need to keep working.

What defining moments have you experienced within your practice?
A particularly important moment I experienced occurred around 2012 when, compositionally, I broke out of the grid.  My prior work was all geometric and grid based, with only a few compositions moving into angles.  Breaking out of the grid was extremely difficult but the transition acted as an explosion of freedom.  Even though my work is still precise, and the compositions still consist of defined flat areas of solid colour, I no longer feel the restrictions that the sole use of the grid imposed.

What is the most memorable exhibition or artwork you have seen?
There have been so many memorable exhibitions over time that it’s hard to specify.  More recently I loved the Lee Krasner exhibition in London, for its colour, courage and talent and the Luc Tuyman show in Venice for its beauty and delicacy.

What does the future hold for you?
If all goes well, I intend to continue my practice well into old age and hope to see my work progressing and becoming stronger.

Jennifer’s artwork

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