Julie Jenkinson: Continued Existence

Continued Existence
Solo Sculpture Exhibition
VERSO Gallery @Inabstracto

Opening November 8 from 6-9
November 8-22, 2018

1160 Queen Street West, Toronto

Press Release
Julie Jenkinson’s new sculpture show is based entirely on small and large scale assemblages of post-industrial materials, salvaged wood and found objects. 

Following what she admits is a completely intuitive process, she succeeds in coaxing sensuous qualities out of the most derelict materials. The pitted surface of an industrial wooden spool takes on a rich and comforting roughness, abandoned industrial rubber car parts suddenly resemble ceramics, discarded pipe bowls are polished and oiled until they gleam. She finds bits and pieces of the discarded items around us and re-invests them with a visual allure that is palpable.

Her ability to evoke the primordial and arresting appeal of objects is one of the strongest qualities of her sculpture. She has a knack for finding things that carry corporeal weight, that demand an embodied response from the eye. Alone they’d be unnoticed, with her help they beguile and invite interaction. Relying on a rich and simple palette of mostly velvety black, brass and steel further simplifies her assemblages and unifies their visual logic. It is almost impossible not to touch them. This is especially true of her sculptural jewelry which radiates an exotic post-apocalyptic glamour you might call Bedouin post punk.

Jenkinson’s deep intuition for her materials allows her to pull off these improbable contrasts: degraded machine pieces look luxurious, antique fragments appear hyper-contemporary, mechanical elements become animal and the organic elements turn strangely inert.  She places wood, steel, brass, rubber and ceramic in dialogue with organic elements such as animal hair
or dried gourds. Her industrial rubber auto parts, in the piece “Still Life” for instance, are grouped together to form a trio not unlike a Morandi still life, with one of them topped with a tuft of wild boar hair stuffing taken from a 1960s sofa.

Her wide use of contrasting materials and stylistic elements makes her work difficult to place historically. You immediately think of modernist or futurist sculpture from the turn of the twentieth century, yet the whimsical and surprising organic touches also invoke early surrealism. Some of the more abject pieces, however, bring to mind the far more recent arte povera. Her constant use of the industrial with the organic, however, such as her brass pipes affixed to inky black gourds, also bring Louise Bourgeois to mind. They represent an organic synthesis of a myriad of influences that places them slightly outside of time.

The works in this collection represent a life spent intently investigating the strange charm of discarded objects. In this show, she demonstrates that she can bring them to life.

— David Jager 

Contact: Kate Eisen

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