Text panel reads:
My mother had a friend whose husband died young in the 50’s. He had always been overweight. The widow had a beautiful house and told my mother that at night alone she had her classical music, her glass of wine and would give anything to have him back.
Jenny Watson is a leading Australian artist whose conceptual painting practice spans more than four decades. Embedded in feminism and punk, this earnest yet playful painting combines colour, text, recurring figure and Watson’s signature use of fabric to create a powerful narrative. Though deliberately naïve in style, Old black cat and red rubber ball (2018) is acerbic in its emotional detail; an idiosyncratic, rudimentary expressionistic style that Watson continues to master since her strategic abdication of realism in the 1970s.
Since her inclusion in the Venice Biennale in 1993, Watson has continued to refine the use of a separate text panel alongside her pictorial images, a movement which she considers to be the crucial component in her conceptual painting project. This distinct visual vehicle that carries great emotional power appears like image caption, aims to address our consciousness and the inner dialogue we subconsciously have when looking at art. As Watson explained, “’the subtext of existence’ is what we have been trained not to think about when we look at art, but it’s part of what makes us human, and art should inform us about what it means to be human.”