Des Kenny Reviews Jenny Fox - Distant Thoughts and Faded Songs

March 11, 2015

09 March 2015 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Jenny Fox - Distant Thoughts and Faded Songs.

Place and time search for definition in the myopic whites and hazy blues of Jenny Fox’s paintings in the First Floor Gallery in Draíocht (until 25 April 2015). Form dissipates into a ghostly semblance and the landscapes shimmering presence haunts the canvas surface like half developed photographs.

Jenny Fox,  As I stand alone with memories of home

The title of one painting As I stand alone with memories of home is an act of remembrance without the factual need for the subject matter of home to starkly exist before the artist’s defining eye. It is an inner emotional landscape the artist conjures that makes reference to peripheral reality. A white cold sun dissolves the landscape into a few elementary lines. An arc scythes through the paint hinting perhaps a hill as it kisses the sky above a blue indiscriminate foreground.

Jenny Fox, The melody lingers on

Again this white cold sun appears within The melody lingers on and its pale ethereal bearing cannot impose colour on the land beyond neutral blues and greys. The artist with a flurry of marks, gouged into the wet pigment and plaster endeavours to map raw forms into the fading ember of reminiscence like a phonograph needle following grooves in a record and vibrates the still land with mournful abandon.

Jenny Fox, Those funny little plans

The artist abdicates clarity of form in the pursuit of something more poetically cryptic and allows her engagement with the land become marooned in the materiality of paint. In Those funny little plans a dark grey shape occupies the top third of the painting, evoking a church spire and a town dowsed in the misty distance of pouring rain. Large silver brushstrokes sweep across sky and land, obscuring the frigid horizon, creating a floating world surrounded by rising flood waters. Bleached blues increase the surging watery drama to an image viewed as if through steam smeared glass.

Jenny Fox, Everything was quiet

Everything was quiet
is a large painting composed primarily of silver grey paint with an ashen grey rectangle, registered on the lower third of the canvas. Vertical strokes carved into the paint surface indicate falling snow racing across an immense sky over a barely discernible terrain. Sound finds no echo and the land is enveloped in shuddering silence. The perpetual fluctuation of nature is momentarily stalled in stillness. It’s these transient junctures in time that fleetingly descend upon the land that captures the artist imaginative engagement with picture making.

Jenny Fox, The way it changed

In The way it changed we recognise a distinguishable coast line with the curve of a beach receding towards a faint headland. The white surf and the pale sky blend together, wedding each other’s elements into a singular essence. A large vertical X scoured onto the paint surface attempts to anchor the image before it dissolves into a recurring haze of constant change. Throughout these works the embattled scarred surfaces portray the artist’s vigorous attempt to capture a capricious subject that appears to disperse before it is possessed.


Draiocht's Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission is Free.

Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.


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