I paint predominantly celebratory, positive, bold, often nostalgic images of women and girls with a nod to abstraction, minimalism and op art.


The paintings are in someway a bit of a contradiction if they are thought of as anonymous portraits.  They are never paintings of famous people nor even of people I know, maybe they aren’t even portraits.  They are mostly taken from tiny, un-noticed pieces of vintage pop-culture – an ad, a brochure, an illustration, an old dress pattern.  The girls are hence not anyone in particular and at the same time a single image can at once be a thousand anonymous, everyday girls into which the viewer can project themselves.


I enjoy the way that representation, reproduction and re-representation form their own chain of visual Chinese whispers – and the way that images morph and produce beautiful moments of accidental abstraction.  I like to exaggerate these abstract shapes that form within the images of the painted portraits.  I like to push the slippage between image and pure shape; representation and flatness.  The realisation of this can be best seen in the full scale versions of actual artworks, as some of this is lost in small reproductions.


The process of painting is itself important … the works as images could much easily be produced as silkscreens or prints (and are often mistaken as such), but the investment of meditative time and the touch of the brush are important.  The inconsistency of surface texture which at first glance seems incredibly flat is tied up in this process.  It calls attention to the juncture between the mass produced image and the handmade artwork.  In the same breath I love both the flatness of image and the object-ness of the painting always calling attention to the depth and solidity of the works I make.


My work revolves around a play with the mass produced image – reviving and focusing in on a fragment or a moment that is easily dismissed, discarded or forgotten within the bombardment of commercial culture.  I like the idea of emptying the image of its original purpose or intent.  An image or a face can suddenly be re-born just like that.


Often using dress fabrics and house-paint, I am interested in the cross over between art, design, decoration, aesthetics, the studio and the home.


In 2008 I teamed up with conceptual artist Lauren Brown for a collaborative partnership under the banner of the Candystripers.


I am a collector, a writer, a craftser and an occasional DJ with a passion for rare sixties soul and girl groups.  In 2000 I completed my Masters degree at University of Melbourne with a thesis on ideas of nostalgia in contemporary Australian art.  I was previously a curator at Outré Gallery (2000 - 2013) and run the Kaotic Kraft Kuties craft collective in Melbourne.


Come visit me at home (virtually)


Also read my interview for Uppers


A review on Thread


And my interview for MIXTAPE


A review of Screaming Fans by Emma Anthony


Mini feature on design*sponge


More info in Bio & CV

About Gemma Jones