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Jennifer Marshall Artist

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For me, subject matter is just a way of starting.

I sometimes start from some pre-existing work – an etching by Claude; or a painting by Turner or Munch, for example. I observe how light is used, how the landscape might be interpreted, the use of space, and so on. My paraphrasings of their works are essentially improvisations that are a homage to the artist, and a challenge to myself. The final result may end up having little reference to the original.

I also make lots of observational sketches of all sorts of things in my day-to-day environment, including the landscape. Some of this also makes its way into my paintings; but not necessarily consciously. However, I find that light, transformation, and transience are all important elements in my work – whether drawings, paintings, or prints.

I have maintained a continuous practice as an artist for more than 50 years, having had my first exhibition of prints and paintings in a commercial gallery in 1962. My work as a visual artist defines me. I studied at the South Australia School of Art from 1959, and my Honours degree in Art History at Sydney University from 1969.

Through this experience, I was awarded a residency at the Power Studio, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris.  I worked in their etching atelier, and had free access to the Louvre and all the museums of Paris. Each morning, I went to the art museums to study paintings, drawings, and prints. I spent days looking at the huge, late Monets in the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, which had a profound influence on my work.

All of the above gave me a visual literacy, which has significantly affected the way I observe the world and how I work as an artist.

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