Last weekend I went to a Jenny Majeske art exhibition at “The Frame Shop” on Taranaki Street in the Wellington CBD.
|The Kind One|
I've seen Jenny's art previously, and have often discussed her “Girl with a cupcake on her shoulder” (the actual title is “Night of the Cupcake”) with friends and colleagues. The concept is so interesting and unusual that everyone is immediately curious about its intended meaning. When I ask Jen what the cupcake means, she answers with a question, “What do you think the cupcake means?” There don't seem to be any wrong answers, and Jen seems more than happy for people to interpret her work in a personal way.
I enjoyed two walks through the exhibition, first by myself and then with the artist. I find myself reacting sharply to each and every piece. Most often, I'm laughing out loud and curious. Less often, I'm simply confused or taken aback. With most exhibitions, I don't have have to ask questions, but these paintings aren't landscapes or portraits, and the meanings and symbols are packed tightly in skilfully constructed realistic abstracts.
What I mean by "realistic abstract" is that most of the time, objects in the paintings are realistic. They represent real things that you clearly recognizefor what they are. However, the pieces of the painting are arranged in abstract ways that you would never find in the world. Probably the most striking piece for me was of a little girl, 5 or 6 years old, laughing and looking out of the painting standing between two wolves growling and snapping at each other. The girl seems oblivious to the animals.
Other times, an objects in the painting are recognizable, but distorted or coloured differently from what you'd expect, placed in an ordinary setting. “Deer Park” shows a beautiful landscape with two deer near the centre of the painting. The deer are candy coloured, one pink and one powder blue and the deer have human heads. One of these deer people is missing the right antler and the other missing the left. The blue and pink could represent male and female (or not) and the incomplete nature of each could mean they need each other (or not).
Words I think best describe the exhibition are “intellectual” and “personal”. It's obviously the work of someone thoughtful, creative and skilled who isn't particularly worried about following a set of artist rules. The end result is well crafted pieces, each with multiple, strong messages and deep personal meaning to the artist. If you find yourself in the Wellington CBD, I highly recommend dropping by to take a look.