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Review: The Wonder of it All, Josie Jenkins & Jacqui Chapman

The Wonder of it All, Josie Jenkins & Jacqui Chapman
The Gallery Liverpool,
29th September – 8th October 2016

Words & Pictures, Patrick Kirk-Smith

If ever there was a lesson in favour of seeing things in the flesh, this is it.

I’ve known Josie Jenkins’ work for a while now, and I was familiar with Jacqui Chapman’s too, but I have to admit, I’ve never actually been to one of their shows. I’ve spent the last two years picturing Josie’s delicate little paintings of shipping containers fitting quite nicely over the fire place, or Jacqui’s energetic expressions grouped together on one wall.

On entering The Gallery Liverpool, you’ll notice immediately how incredibly wrong those preconceptions were. The work of both these artists are on a fairly massive scale. Josie Jenkins compared this to the way illustrators work; working big to show small.

That was the first impression anyway, but the second one was an unavoidable question: Why are these two together? What links figurative demonstrations of shipping fields to abstract expressions in colour? Well, while the exhibition descriptions might claim it “brings together work with contrasting visual subject matter, underpinned by concurrent themes” etc. etc. etc. the simple truth is that it looks good together.

Jacqui Chapman draws her inspiration from how human kind constrains botany and Josie Jenkins has her canvases that laud up themes of consumerism and consumption. There are clear connections in how mankind consumes the earth. So the real, and serious connection is there, in that control and human intervention, whether it’s in landscapes as a whole, or the more delicate elements of landscape.

But above it all is an exhibition of work that looks good together and still manages to provide individual favourites within it. For me Jacqui Chapman’s wall of studies was a perfect reflection of Josie Jenkins’ stacked field of shipping containers, but I’m by no means saying they were the best works in the show. Just the ones that struck a chord with me.

The Wonder of it All is an exhibition that needs to be seen to be understood, with work that, even in my pictures below, manage to shrink the space its in. So as the exhibition’s run comes to a close, there’s just about enough time to go down and see something outside of a photograph.

The exhibition continues until 8th October 2016