Jenny Reddin is a recipient of the LUMAS Galleries Australia and Sequana Arts Grant July 2020
Oil on Canvas
Jenny Reddin is an abstract artist in her day to day practice however from time to time she is moved to express her fears and frustrations about the state of the world in a more recognisable way.
Evolution is a small piece she painted earlier this year in response to news articles that appeared in the press about global warming, rising sea levels and threatened extinction of species. In particular, a report in the Washington Post of record temperatures in Verkhoyansk, a town in Siberia north of the Arctic Circle that reached 38°, the hottest temperature ever recorded in that region.
In Evolution, the image of a whale in a dry and arid landscape is intended to suggest to the viewer the impossibility of life on Earth without water. Whales will not evolve into creatures that will survive on land, humans will not evolve into beings that can live without water.
The whale in the painting is intended as a metaphor for life. They, like all animals on the Earth rely on a fragile balance of nature for survival. When they can no longer survive in the oceans there is no life as we know it on the planet.
The image of the whale in the landscape is surrounded by what appears to be an old fashioned picture frame. The purpose of the frame is two fold. On one hand it creates a heightened feel of space within a space which seeks to focus the viewer on the central image, the Whale. Secondly, framing the image in a way that references the past seeks to highlight the distance between a time before our awareness of global warming and a future where whales evolve to live on dry land.
It is difficult to find a photograph of a whale from end to end because of the size of the creature. To paint this work, Jenny built a plaster model of a whale based on multiple photographs including images of Johnathon Delafield Cook’s Sperm Whale II (https://www.artsy.net/artwork/jonathan-delafield-cook-sperm-whale-ii). She built a diorama using cottonwool for clouds and dried grasses for landscape to help her achieve a balance in the scale and depth of the image.
It is Jenny’s intention to use the LUMAS Gallery and Sequana Art Grant to produce a series of works that bring to focus the issues that face humankind and to show that it is not possible to continue our current trajectory of global damage whilst maintaining a richness of life that includes diversity of species, habitat, water and food source.