Jenny Watson, painter is an interview Sue Ford conducted with fellow Australian artist Jenny Watson in 1975 at the latter’s studio and home on Punt Road, Richmond. The two artists discuss feminism, art and the relationship between art and life in this insightful interview and document of the time.
Jenny Watson (born 25 October 1951) is a leading Australian artist known for her practice intertwining painting with autobiographical and fictional narratives that interrogate the construction of femininity and self. Drawing from personal histories, punk and feminism, her painting practice has developed a unique style since the 1970s, incorporating fabric, text and collage. She has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, and her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.
In this 1975 interview, Watson reflects on the current state of art and the changes brought about by the introduction of video, performance, documentation and body art, highlighting the emergence of the personal or subjective within art practice. She discusses the difficulties facing women working in art such as a domestic situation, motherhood, or not being taken seriously; conversely, she points out the support provided by a community of women.
Watson goes on to discuss the shift towards the personal, figurative and diaristic in her recent work, particularly reflecting on the Horse series she created in the early 1970s. Filmed standing in front of her most recent body of work, a series of life-size portraits including one of her then-partner, artist John Nixon (Yellow Painting: John, 1974), and one of herself, Watson introduces the formal framework and her exploration of the subjective figure.
The interview is a fascinating insight into the development of an important Australian artist’s practice, as well as a testament to the interwoven personal relationships between artists of the period.
In ACMI's collection
Short films → Short films - Australia
Black and White
MOV file ProRes4444; Digital Preservation Master - overscan
MOV file ProRes4444; Digital Preservation Master - presentation
MPEG-4 Digital File; ACMI Digital Access Copy - overscan
MPEG-4 Digital File; ACMI Digital Access Copy - presentation