An Interview with artist Jenny Parkin- Art Packed with Politics and Calories
One of my favourite things about writing Fawn Review is getting to see the beautiful art work that people get in touch to share with me. Sometimes weird, more often wonderful and best when they’re both, I love the opportunity to see the eclectic mix of works. Of all the beautiful pieces people have gotten in touch about recently, these photographs by Jenny Parkin absolutely stopped me in my tracks.
Rather than an invitation to look at Parkin’s portfolio, I felt more like I’d stumbled across some forensic evidence of a food fight in an antiques shop.
Inspired by the porcelain figurines commonplace at the mantelpiece in her childhood memories, Parkin recently began collecting the statues which she was inspired to splatter and smother with jelly and custard. The result is ‘The Gainsboro Series’ comprised of tongue in cheek and visualy gorgeous images.
“Looking through Parkin’s portfolio is like stumbling upon forensic evidence of a food fight in an antiques shop”
She explains, “I’m exploring the whole idea of the fiction of fulfilment via consumption, and how greedy and wasteful we are… Superficially, the brightly-coloured, translucent goo looks so beautiful and jewel-like – but you don’t have to gaze too long for it to become sickly and a bit monstrous… I was thinking about how we like to present our best selves to the world, surrounded with all our possessions.”
Parkin, who sums up her work as ‘joyful’, presents these images as large scale photographs on board. Each assemblage lasts a few hours under the hot lights of her studio whilst she shoots it, mimicking the waste and replace culture of which she speaks.
Parkin continues the theme of the Gainsboro series throughout her work including in the 2011 project Mail which saw mail bags oozing with party food.
People did stick the odd finger in but I welcomed that interaction… it adds to the narrative
On occasion, she has been tempted to risk bringing the edible works from behind the lens and before the eager eyes, and often stomachs, of gallery go-ers.
“I had a plinth covered with oozing cream and custard, wilting and spreading and congealing under the lights, people did stick the odd finger in but I welcomed that interaction… it adds to the narrative”.
You can visit Parkin’s work in the flesh at ‘Co-Creation’, Leeds College of Art (Blenheim Walk building) between 15 April and 26 May.