Artist Statement


In my work I distill ideas and language of the circus arena through paint. A playground of the mind that encompasses the make-believe realm of fantasy.
A space of no walls where the laws of nature no longer hold true. A place where characters commune in a common language of their own. It is an arena
that encompasses the viewer's fantasy of the imaginary and the unspoken. In this space, of paint, colour and texture the awareness of the scene is heightened.


My paintings start with a hunch or inclination. It is as if I am in a playground with the toys as tools at my disposal to do with as I see fit. I take on the role of the
dreamer or child when I set out to make a painting. To me the surface of the canvas is like a stage which I play on as I transform myself into different characters
or objects depending on the scene depicted. I relate to the painter Paula Rego when she says her studio is like a playroom, " a self-contained enclosure within
the boundaries of which anything is permissible and possible."


The scenes which I now paint, and am displaying, are from an altogether more absurd ephemera building on my earlier fondness for the whimsical while
letting the literal go. For instance a bird floating above a branch with the words "buzzy bee" written on a circular shape below. This on a surface which has been
wiped out of its previously existing images. Or billy goats in ballet slippers above a Hungarian china bowl whose form is ambiguous. Is it a bowl, a trampoline,
or a pool of water? When the scenes are painted they become captured – fixed imaginary moments. Representing the characters realistically is no longer of great
importance to me as a painter, but rather the feeling or mood the piece evokes. Each painting tells a story to me / with me as I am painting. It is not essential that
each viewer receive the same information or interpret the paintings in the same way . I also leave large areas of silence in my paintings, a breathing space.
Wiping images out and painting on top of already existing images is how I achieve this open space. I tend to work with multiple canvases, starting with minimal images
on each and then as the story / play takes flight I focus and build on one canvas. For me, the canvas is an opaque surface, a stage from which I coax the characters
out so that they enter independently of one another.


Jennifer Bend