Ahead Of Her Time | A Homage to Jenny McNulty 1942 – 2016

Ahead Of Her Time | A Homage to Jenny McNulty 1942 – 2016

1 February - 23 February 2024

Alison Gautrey | Valéria Nascimento | Lara Scobie | Maria Wojdat | Tina Vlassopulos

jaggedart is honoured to be presenting an exhibition of works by late artist Jenny McNulty. Jenny was a pioneer in works using paper, wire and mesh.

We have invited five contemporary ceramicists to respond to Jenny’s timeless and relevant works. The dialogue between paper and ceramic adds another dimension to this conversation.

Secluded in her studio and in the time before social media, Jenny was fascinated with ideas of the basic elements of matter, and concerned for the fragile environment of earth. This led her to develop innovative techniques and an art ahead of its time. Works made entirely from paper were not common when she began, and when she first exhibited works in wire and paper in 2006. Jenny reworked the same subject/object in different media and making works in series allowed her to convey a sense of the perpetual movement and variation of the material world.

This exhibition shows works from 4 series made between 2003 and 2015, all hand cut on white or cream paper and a few with some colour emerging from the back or side of works, alongside wire mesh and paper mobiles. All celebrate and explore the reality of the Still Life. Over time they progress from austere grids of pots seemingly suspended in space to the final exuberance of flowers bursting out from their background.

The Still Life works were produced in three phases, an example of each is in the exhibition. All lead the eye to see a three - dimensional object where there is only light and space.

Square Circle Triangle is a series developed over 4 years from 2003-2007. The basic geometric shapes of square, circle and triangle are taken as building blocks of matter with different variations of pattern and design. At the beginning of the series shapes are complex, each formed from smaller shapes or intricately folded paper. In the second half of the series the shapes are basic with cuts showing they might split to multiply themselves. Each is unique.

The Squares and Lines series was made at the same time as the Square Circle Triangle Paper Reliefs. Colours change with the
ambient light to reveal the shapes.

The Spirals and Flowers series show Jenny freed from the discipline of the 3 x 3 grid. They frequently demonstrate connections between simple and complex elements of the circle as it splits, leading to the extravagance of flowers.

About the artists

Having trained as a printmaker under Donald Hamilton Frazer at Hammersmith College and Norman Ackroyd at Central School (now Central St Martins) Jenny McNulty later worked in oils, on still lifes of domestic pots or found objects and geometric forms. From the 1990s she executed the same subjects in paper constructions and wire and mesh mobiles, drawing inspiration for materials from Arte Povera and, in the mobiles, using techniques developed when designing the Childrens’ Notting Hill Carnival.

Almost paper-like, Alison Gautrey’s porcelain vessels in subtle shades of white are luminously translucent. These weightless bowls capture the feeling of movement within the simplicity of form. She combines her intuitive vision through her design background with her knowledge of the material.

Valéria Nascimento is a Brazilian artist who works mainly with large-scale wall porcelain installation projects, with a background in Architecture and an interest in urban landscapes and natural forms. Her delicate botanical installations are about repetitive sequencing with separate elements to form a cohesive sculptural group.

Edinburgh ceramicist Lara Scobie makes one-of-a-kind vessels in Fine Porcelain Parian clay. Her distinctive work celebrates graphic pattern and bold colour. Each piece is individually made in fine porcelain Parian clay and hand decorated using a combination of inlay and sgraffito drawing.

Maria Wojdat is known for her vessels and wall pieces. Influenced by mid-century art and design, her work embodies a minimal aesthetic. The pared-back forms become the canvas for bold colour combinations and matte ceramic surfaces inspired by the texture of paper.

Tina Vlassopulos’ s vessel-based sculptural forms are full of latent energy and movement, directed in the twists, curves and spirals that make her work so distinctive. Her burnished earthenware has a strong elemental quality that moves away from the traditional familiarities in ceramics.