Friendship, 1991
oil on German velvet
182 x 81 cm

In this work from 1991, Jenny Watson paints a horse from behind over rich red velvet. Watson identifies strongly with the horse’s spirit, freedom and independence. The horse has always been an important element in her work as the artist explains: “When I first did the horses I thought that that was simply about horses, the nature of horses and my horses in particular. But now that I am directly using a self portrait all the time, I realise that the horse was in fact a self portrait”.

Curator Judy Annear claims the horse may also embody a spiritual or mythological association: “The horse with its rich mythological associations suggest potential or unleashed energies, dream of departure and abandon as well as incorporation Jungian interpretations of the horse as protector, as a symbol for the Mother an intuitive understanding.”