Jennifer Douglas: The Wood Between The Worlds: WORKPLACE GATESHEAD

2 June - 7 July 2007

Taking its title directly from C. S. Lewis’s book ‘The Magicians Nephew’ (part of ‘Chronicles of Narnia’) where The Wood is a 'linking room' between the protagonists real and fantasy worlds Douglas’s exhibition invites us to test our boundaries and preconceived notions of objects and space, fiction and reality in a series of new works. Douglas’s work compels us to unravel a multiplicity of meaning entangled in the formality of all kinds of objects and procedures.

 

Spanning drawing, sculpture, and installation her work reveals structures of thought that are both abstract and literal. Her materials are carefully selected for their distinctive qualities or characteristics: painted wooden shapes, brightly coloured ropes and twines, luminous reflective plastics, and dirty pools of pigmented latex engage us in an aesthetic vocabulary that is idiosyncratic and unmistakably her own. This immediate sense of playful intuition belies a far more rigorous and demanding investigation of ‘matter’ and its conceptual significance.

 

Key to the work is Douglas’s ongoing exploration of colour through several stages. Firstly, colour inherent in and applied to the found object; then in relation to architectural and sculptural space; and finally in a reinterpretation of the above that in turn informs her drawings and collage. As you move through Douglas’s work her drawings begin to act as codes that need to be cracked before you can attempt to fully experience her sculpture and installation:

 

“Through the process of making the drawings I start to illustrate materials and processes that I use when making sculpture - the drawings are my method of thinking through the making of an object or collections of objects to form a sculpture”

 

The sculpture acts in the same way, whereby through the process of making and experimenting with material, form, and placement one is lead to a place where the sculpture provides an entry point back into the drawing. Douglas’s installations become a place of transition ‘betwixt and between’ worlds of understanding, where indeterminacy and disorientation enable an opening up to something new:

 

“There is a strong relationship therefore between the making of both drawings and sculptures as they are undertaken in a similar way, that’s why I think its difficult to separate them in exhibiting them as the one informs the other both visually and in the way that I make the.”