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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Jessie Makinson

b. 1985, United Kingdom

Jessie Makinson is a London-based artist known for her humorous, fanciful, and at times unsettling depictions of female figures in paintings, drawings, ceramics, and installations. With references to classical mythology, art-historical canons, science fiction, and contemporary popular culture, the artist redefines the roles and narrative possibilities of women in art.

While best known for her oil paintings, Makinson takes drawings as the starting-point of her work, making large, random drawings on the blank canvas and expanding from there. Her approach is intuitive, working with each new addition of a face, line, form, or colour as a guide to evolving the narrative. Leitmotifs in the artist's works include the repetition of patterns, as in the dresses her female protagonists wear in the paintings Southampton Way and Windy Here (both 2015). Abstract and cartoonish marks also make their way into her figurative representations of humans; in So Handy (2015)—for which she won the Marmite Prize for Painting V in 2016—opaque blue lines with small hands at their ends fly around three individuals, as if giving directions or forming a pattern.

The main characters in Makinson's artworks engage in a range of activities, from mundane to otherworldly. Four women sit and stand around a blue table in I Never Liked You (2015), their stiffened posture suggesting tension and awkwardness. In the background, blue female figures with stocky legs and thin arms evoke Matisse's nude dancers. Instead of dancing hand-in-hand, however, they appear disconnected from one another. Figures on the right seem to be trying to avoid the figure in the centre. In paintings such as Boo or Me Boo Too (both 2016), women wearing animal prints assume almost comical poses that exaggerate their buttocks—a satirical reflection on the representation and consumption of the female body in art and contemporary society.

In Makinson's other works, women are part-human and part-animal, or something else yet, as if emerging out of ancient myths or science fiction. Her solo exhibition Tender Trick at Mexico City's Galería OMR in 2019, for example, presented oil paintings, ceramic pots, and a small wooden house depicting anthropomorphic creatures in bizarre and fantasy-like scenes. Sun- and moon-headed figures embrace each other in the painting My fins are sleeping (2019), while a female figure in the woods strokes a tail with a human head at its end in a painting titled Magma rising (2019). The works in Tender Trick were inspired by The Blazing World, a piece of prose fiction written by Margaret Cavendish in 1666 about a utopian kingdom of talking animals.

Makinson studied drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2007, and undertook the Drawing Year Postgraduate Programme at the Royal Drawing School, London, in 2013. In the same year she was awarded the School's Moritz-Heyman Artist's Residency in Tuscany. In 2016, she participated in the Turps Banana Studio Programme in London, followed by an artist-in-residence programme at London Art School's City & Guilds in 2017.

Biography by Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

View All (15)
Silver her thorns by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonSilver her thorns, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
200 x 165 cm
Galería OMR
Into the shimmer by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonInto the shimmer, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
120 x 100 cm
Galería OMR
What a wild baby by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonWhat a wild baby, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
45 x 35 cm
Galería OMR
Speak in leaves by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonSpeak in leaves, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
70 x 50 cm
Galería OMR
To foam and bloom by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonTo foam and bloom, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
190 x 165 cm
Galería OMR
Misled blush by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonMisled blush, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
200 x 170 cm
Galería OMR
Crunchy darlings by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonCrunchy darlings, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
Galería OMR
La giggles by Jessie Makinson contemporary artwork
Jessie MakinsonLa giggles, 2019 Oil and pigment on canvas
Galería OMR

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Jessie Makinson, Tender Trick at Galería OMR, Mexico City
Closed
20 June–17 August 2019 Jessie Makinson Tender Trick Galería OMR, Mexico City
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, No Patience for Monuments at Perrotin, Seoul
Closed
4 April–8 June 2019 Group Exhibition No Patience for Monuments Perrotin, Seoul

In Related Press

Jessie Makinson’s Fantastical Works Imagine a Posthuman Dreamworld Related Press Jessie Makinson’s Fantastical Works Imagine a Posthuman Dreamworld Art in America : 21 August 2019

The works in Jessie Makinson's exhibition Tender Trick (all 2019) were bustling with fantastical beings. A large wooden sculpture suggesting a marquee tent sat at the center of the gallery.

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