Robyn Jackson is exhibiting her works again at Gallery 126 due to popular demand. She explains that she’s most looking forward to hearing how her audience interprets her work.
When and why are you exhibiting at Gallery 126?
Connect will be open from Friday 12 October to Saturday 3 November.
I am happy to say this is my fourth solo exhibition at Gallery 126.
Anne and Stuart’s dedication and passion for the art scene is evident in the way they present their gallery and the tireless help they give to their artists. Work is always shown to the best advantage, and the standard of presentation is high.
After you have got a body of work together for an exhibition, it is so nice to just relax and know your work is in good hands.
I am always excited to take part in exhibitions at 126 and look forward to showing this year’s work.
What is the theme of your exhibition?
I would say the theme throughout my exhibition would be ‘love’. That is, the dark side of love, the light side of love, the sad side, and the happy side of love.
Why are acrylics your preferred choice of materials?
I love acrylics. They were made for impatient artists just like me (though I do use other mediums in my work like charcoal and oil pastel). You can use them thin like watercolour, or beef them up to be meaty like oils, without that long, agonising drying time.
Acrylics give me the freedom to make mistakes and take risks. My works can change many times in the process of creating. I am known to repeatedly change my palette if a painting is not working. I like to use a spatula and scrape back, building layers of colour and texture. I can work quickly in large areas, and this keeps me from fiddling with too much detail (my greatest enemy).
I have just read a quote this week from Bryce Courtney in the weekend paper. He said, “Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. You don’t learn from success. You learn from stuffing up”. I feel acrylics allow me to stuff up and hopefully learn.
With this exhibition, I was lucky enough to trial a new paint made by Atelier. This paint has a vividly matte finish and could be described as a gouache-like acrylic. Combined with my usual acrylics, I have found this to be very exciting. And with the many mediums now available to add to acrylics, the choices are limitless.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Every day life. One of the joys of living in a regional area for a long time is that we often cross paths with people who share our memories and social connections. This makes life in the country very rewarding. But as my inspiration comes from everyday living, this can also become very tricky – and I am really mindful of this.
So when I connect with an idea, I use a huge amount of fabrication and distortion to the point the inspiration is only the springboard to the end result.
For this exhibition, I have been looking at three French artists: Degas, Matisse, Toulouse Lautrec, to see how they took everyday scenes in the bathroom, in the bedroom etc and made them beautiful, dramatic and fascinating. Like these great artists, I have taken people in natural everyday situations, going about their domestic business to make a story, but have done it my way.
I like the viewer to read the painting as they see it. For me, there is nothing better than listening to someone else’s view of what they think the painting is really about.
For me, it’s about the relationship we have with our surrounds. I try to deal with the figure and the mindscape. The tension between the two, metaphorically and visually, is what makes it interesting.
I like to think my work will take you to a different place, if only for a heartbeat. Isn’t that what art is meant to do? Take us outside of ourselves.
Which artists influence your work?
My three little artist grandsons, Jay, Henry and Dion, have my greatest admiration. I love to watch as they draw, showing lots of information with so few lines to tell their story. I have strived to do this all my life; though I do get excited when I turn my back to find a whole tube of my cadmium paint squeezed out, with a “what’s wrong with you” look to greet me.
But really, here in New England we have great Australian artists right in our backyard. I love it, and they influence me every day.
This story was published in issue 65 of the New England Focus