Jenny Franklin, Artist

Jenny Franklin's studio has been based in London for the past 31 years, where she is represented by the Crane Kalman Gallery. She has been regularly exhibited in group exhibitions and art fairs in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Sydney and Hong Kong. In addition, she has worked on a number of commissions, most notably, a 10metre painting for the Prudential PLC. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections.

JF was born in SA and left for London in 1979 on a British Council Visitor's Programme. Studies at Goldsmith's College were followed by an MA degree in painting at the Royal College of Art in London. During this period, two scholarships, the Basil Alkazzi Scholarship to Greece and the 1998 Rome Scholarship in Painting, made a significant contribution to the development of her work with the introduction of European sources of inspiration.

JF's artistic practice is located firmly in the tradition of a studio-based artist, whose sources are gleaned from outside the studio. Her work has been driven by memories of growing up in an African landscape of extraordinary splendour, and by the loss of home and country. Since leaving apartheid South Africa, she has travelled extensively with sketchbook and camera in search of warm luminous landscapes and to make studies in the ethnographic sections of museums. Part of each year is spent painting in a studio by the water's edge in the Ku-ring-gai National park, Pittwater, Sydney, where her family has settled, and from where the ongoing series 'Ancient Earth, Australia' is derived. From 2001 to 2008 she spent periods working in a studio in the south of France. Paintings from this time were shown at her solo exhibition 'L'Oeil du Palmier' at the Crane Kalman Gallery in London in 2004, as well as in her solo exhibition in 2007 'Paintings from an Itinerant Life', which also included paintings from her Australian experience.

JF has always felt an aesthetic affinity with the ancient, both geological and cultural. She has derived much from the elemental and mythical languages of the art of early cultures. Growing up in South Africa, she recognised the vitality of Bushman art, lacking in exposure as she was to great examples of Western Art. In Greece and Italy she was drawn to the art of the Minoans, Etruscans and the Byzantines. In addition, the notion of palimpsest, derived from the layering of history on the ancient walls in Rome - with their residual fragments in odd juxtapositions - informed the direction of her work.

Though her paintings are strongly organic in form and method, they are in no way topographical with regards to landscape. Whilst some may convey a spirit of place, others may transmogrify through the process of painting itself. William Blake's idea of seeing 'a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower' defines more aptly her relation to landscape. She finds herself increasingly drawn to the close-up view, the found object (as in her 'Bark Series') and especially those aspects of the natural world that lend themselves to abstraction and transmutation (for example, the scribble-bark eucalypt in Australia).

The interaction between the dual sources of her work - natural and cultural - has become increasingly apparent. 'Reliquiae' (a natural relic) is a frequent title of her paintings; a natural form may appear like a museum fragment. Conversely, the markings on an old Spanish tile may transmute into a biological diagram.Decorative and ornamental elements drawn from her sketchbooks may reappear in a large painting in an organic form relating the motifs to their source in the natural world.

Clearly a process of transmogrification is at the heart of her practice. To this end, the use of chance in her method of painting plays a key role. Her use of an instinctive wandering line in the initial drawing may be subverted by the flooding of diluted paint.This serves to trigger the associative potential of colour resonance and patina. It is as if memory encounters possibility as she works. She sees chance as the creative partner of intention, and the element of surprise in the transformative process, the spur towards her aesthetic prediliction for an 'odd poetry'. Whilst keenly observing changes in the art world, her own work is strongly personal in motivation. For over thirty years it has grown under its own impetus.