Jennifer Hare is currently studying Fine Art at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich.
a-n Art Student: Are the choices you make in your visual practice the same sort of choices you made in your dissertation research?
Jennifer Hare: I am not sure they are the same but the choices I am making in my visual practice have definitely been influenced by my dissertation research. Just as I felt I could only write about the things I felt passionately about; the same goes for my paintings. The experience has informed the way I now analyse my own work, from process and colour to narrative and how others may perceive it.
a-n: It’s interesting your research has made you think more about an audience for your work. Do you feel more comfortable writing about your paintings, now that you have established more of a practice in thinking with words too?
JH: I think one feeds the other: writing helps me paint and vice versa, so yes. As an artist it is all too easy to want to express everything through a visual medium. But there comes a point where written language gives a more thorough understanding and insight to the work.
a-n: What was your dissertation about, and did you come up with its title at the start or did the title develop as you moved forward in your research? This is interesting, as your paintings seem to be led by their subject matter, which sort of inherits content through particular source material.
JH: Writing about my work does not help me choose the image to work from, but it does help me to understand the choice afterwards. My dissertation was about three contemporary portrait painters. The title came much later on when I began discovering more about the artists and their work. They all relied on visual media as a source material but had vastly different styles.
a-n: Your paintings, which depict close up portraits of scenes from popular film, could be read as a process you undergo to appropriate existing visual imagery. Perhaps style has less of a role to play in this process; maybe it’s more about the idea of re-interpreting something. You can correct any misreading there! But it is interesting; we have only seen your work online and read about it on your blog. It seems their content goes deeper and perhaps this is now enriched by your dissertation research?
JH: It is about re-interpreting and that is the reason I paint; just by the act of painting the picture can take on a different mood. I think there are so many images for artists to paint from; all you need is Google search. It is more about how you paint. My dissertation showed me that everything we do is shaped by our past experiences and that certainly relates to the way I look at and paint film.
a-n: On your blog you almost add descriptors to your paintings. The text you put together looks at strands, sources and approaches to painting. How do you approach writing titles for the works? And, when you envisage hanging them in an exhibition, do you think they’ll be shown in series or as individual works?
JH: Describing my work is a way of allowing the audience to understand the connection between the paintings. I see them all as one subject and therefore one work. Although this work is still in progress, I need to try out exhibiting them in different ways to see what works best. I do think my ‘faces’ will look good grouped together but my painting with the guns, Mike and Marcus want some Candy, that has a strong narrative on its own.
As for titles, I am still deciding, sometimes a line from the film pops into my head, creating a feeling of knowing the character, even though we know they’re fictional. I think my dissertation has made me work on my paintings with a more structured approach. But there is still a lot more experimentation to come and I intend to write more about the trials and tribulations along the way.
a-n: What do you have planned for your degree show? What will you show and how will you show it, or, like the dissertation title — will this be decided much closer to the time of exhibiting?
JH: In writing we have to find connections and join up the dots, then edit out what is not needed. I will be using the same process for planning my degree show. I would like to work on one central piece, on a larger scale, to mimic a more cinematic feel. My faces work well as one collective piece but – as I mentioned before – the Mike and Marcus want some Candy piece has a narrative all of it’s own. I think I have to find the link between the two. I may exhibit in an enclosed room with the idea of creating the feel of entering a theatre, immersed by the images in front of you. And I have not yet ruled out the possibility of sound accompanying the paintings too… But I don’t want to limit what the work could become just yet. Its important not to have too rigid an idea of what and how you want something like this to be.
Connect with Jennifer and read more about her practice here.