Two Solo Exhibitions
21 May 2022 - 12 July 2022
Playing By The Rules sees multidisciplinary artist Jenny Nijenhuis subvert the gender norms of society.
The artist carefully deconstructs the ideologies that we have been conditioned with, through a series of sculptures defying the apparent rules that has been set out for us.
"Just for a moment imagine throwing out these rules. All those conditioned ways of being which are accepted by you and me and everyone in some form or another, as undeniable truth. Truths so deep and passed on to us with so much love, and belief and unquestioned acceptance that we perpetuate a cycle of limitation."
Nijenhuis explores identity and our place in the world through the use of the human body.
This exploration draws on how you come to accept who you are or rather who you have identified with being and how this identity is influenced by life in society.
The artist is interested in stereotypical beliefs which lead to stereotypical behaviour patterns. Belief systems which keep us trapped in binary opposition, and acts which cast us in conformity or complacency and result in lonely crowds and the radical absence of freedom.
"I have a deep desire to elicit a shift in perception that has the ability to transform - even if only in the small personal spaces that we do not share with others."
By direct modelling in clay Nijenhuis produces life size figures to achieve real world presence through their human scale and other, sometimes smaller, works using trace elements to explore presence through installation.
Jenny Nijenhuis was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1969 and obtained her BAFA from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1993.
Having worked in corporate marketing and running her own communications agency until 2018, she returned to her art practice in 2012 working in sculpture and installation.
Years spent in communications combined with an on-going drive to understand human identity and how this is influenced by religious, political, and societal dogma, has led to her current artistic exploration. Nijenhuis was invited to Cornell University in New York in 2019 to present the Keynote address at an event on the empowerment of women around the world. Nijenhuis was a finalist in the 2017 Sasol New Signatures art competition.
In 2016 Nijenhuis created SA’s Dirty Laundry, an installation bringing awareness to the issue of rape in South Africa by hanging 3600 pairs of used panties on washing lines across the streets of Johannesburg. Nijenhuis co-curated her first group show at SoMa Art + Space titled The Things We Do for Love as part of this artistic intervention. In 2015 Nijenhuis was a PPC Imaginarium finalist and a Lovell Tranyr Art Trophy finalist in 2014. Nijenhuis has participated in various group exhibitions in South Africa and her sculpture has been bought by private collectors through galleries and directly. This is Nijenhuis' first solo exhibition with Lizamore & Associates.
The Paradise of Normality is a deeply personal, autobiographical rendering of healing post-trauma. Osso's son suffered from fatal focal seizures resulting in her family living in a constant state of emergency. In 2019 he underwent successful brain surgery and her family found personal reprieve at a time of extreme crisis during the Covid pandemic. The body of work speaks about the process of release from the impending prospect of trauma or even death.
“The paintings are a celebratory rendering of our “exhale” as a family. They dialogue with everyday rituals which include walking, playing, sitting, painting and watching. They reflect on routine; that it can be consistently repeated instead of interrupted. This concept became the performance for which the paintings began to hold space.”
Her paintings are big and their visceral surface embodies the notion of presence. They display all living things and they scrutinise those relationships in terms of repetition and construction. Osso has emphasised the tempos, the rituals and the rhythms which were performed over time by the plants, animals and people within the boundaries of home. Osso examines the consistency of ritual which she describes as a dynamic dance between our experience of self and space. Ritual creates routine and structure which like a ballet class become rhythmic and lull us into a sense of calm. In this way Osso’s process details an awareness of the body in space; movement a central theme.
“I understand choreography as a way of being that petrifies a space - a way of remembering something that is living because I believe that experience retains power.”
Osso uses the ritual of painting to formalise her lived experiences because she believes that the slow, process allows time for the painter to digest the experience and translate it into visual form. “I believe this to be the medium's magical healing power and why it became adopted as the perfect mode to process my trauma.”
As both a dancer and an artist Osso revels in such an adaptive process like painting and the work seeks to translate moments of physical interaction; be they joyous, difficult, or mundane. Osso's interest is in how these moments can be suspended, extended, or revisited. These moments, therefore, confirm the notion that personal, physical intimacy is valuable.
Gratitude and an overarching feeling of relief and happiness permeate these works. They emphasise the simple pleasures of being alive – of feeling lucky to be healthy. Their consistent narrative acknowledges the concept of repair; How to? Should you? When to? Can you? Are you even allowed to take the time ?
Osso’s artworks grapple with the connection between the immediacy of performance and the physicality of painting. She explores movement, the tempo of ritual and the rhythms of everyday life as they present in Johannesburg, South Africa. In her career, she excelled as a ballet and contemporary dancer and performed with numerous local and international theatre companies before pursuing her studies in the visual arts field. Johannesburg is a city of many limitations (especially for women and people with disabilities) and Osso’s obsession with the dynamism of movement and mark, within such limitations, became emphasised after her son was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. In 2014 she completed her MAFA degree (with distinction) at WITS University and later, her PGCE certificate (with distinction) in education. She is currently running a teaching studio and making art. This is Osso's first solo exhibition with Lizamore & Associates.
Brothers, 2021, Acrylic, oil and ink on canvas, 240cm x 175cm (framed)
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Participating: Jenny Nijenhuis and Tamara Osso
Lizamore & Associates at The Fire Station
Address: The Fire Station, 16 Baker Street, Rosebank, Johannesburg
Cell: 082 651 4702
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 07:00 - 19:00
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