Monday, February 13, 2012

on the bookshelf : Jenny Sages

On the bookshelf....

Hi everyone...
It's Monday and its time to do something I haven't done in a while and that is review an art publication off my tiny white bookshelf. I know I sound so gen x when I talk about publications and books that have an actual hard cover and pages you can turn.  But hey - I am a gen-xer, and I do have a passion for pages I can touch and smell - and look at colours that are made of ink, rather than pixels on a screen. It's just the way I am. Maybe you could say that I love books that switch my five senses on...? Maybe that could be a good way to describe my enduring love of books. 

Im not sure I would, or could, have a similar experience with an e -art book. Its like having a relationship  with an artwork that only exists on my desktop... mmmmm... there is a discussion to be had there. But that will have to be saved for a later date.

Anyway back to my new catalogue that was discovered on my recent trip to Canberra. Whenever I am in the Capital I always like to take a long lazy look at the gallery shops - it's my cardio. The National Gallery of Australia, The National Library, Craft ACT, and my favourite, The National Portrait Gallery all feature on my list of places to visit. 

They always have such a great selection of books. And on this particular trip this beautiful catalogue on the work of Jenny Sages was one of the first things I saw. It accompanied an exhibition called Jenny Sages : Paths to Portraiture, which I sadly missed at the Portrait Gallery. It is now touring the country, and at present can be seen at Tweed River Regional Gallery in Northern NSW. {If you're in the area!}

Jenny Sages : Paths to Portraiture

I love the work of Jenny and have always tried to catch her exhibitions at King St Gallery on William. The sensitive marking making, the beautiful use of materials such as natural pigment and wax, and the slow and considered way she capture her subject, all makes her work unique and enduring. 

Jenny's work is also a favourite with the Archibald judges, who have selected her portrait paintings for the finals on many occasions in March. And that is what this book and exhibition brings to light. From the fashion designers of Sass and Bide, to her much loved late husband, this collection of Australian faces and personalities captured by Jenny clearly highlight that this exhibition and beautiful book were long long LONG overdue...
Here is a quick look...

On one side of the hard back cover two hands are rendered by jenny with pencil, while the other side
 the same hands are shown in oil paint...

The book has been beautifully done with pages that concertina out from between the two hard covers.

On the left you can see Jenny sitting in front of her amazing painting of Emily Kame Kngwarreye
which was completed before Emily's passing in 1996. On these pages the book features an essay on Jenny
written by Sarah Engledow who was also the curator of the exhibition.

On the left is the painting 'Gloria Tamere Petyarre 2005', and on the right the completed painting of Kngwarreye
called ' Emily Kame Kngwarreye with Lily 1993

Each painting is beautifully captured on the page, and what I love the most is the red cotton ribbon ties that hold the book together at each side. Such details make this catalogue special...

Jenny Sages : Paths to Portraiture
by Curator & Author Sarah Engledow
Design by Brett Wiencke
Produced by The National Portrait Gallery
ISBN 978-0-9870735-2-5

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