January 16-26, 2020
VERSO Gallery @Inabstracto
1160 Queen Street West Toronto
Opening reception January 16, 6-8 pm.
Julie Jenkinson follows her last show of sculpture at VERSO Gallery @Inbstracto with recent work, extending her exploration of found industrial materials into bold new territory. Relying always on her innate ability to tease out the alluring qualities of materials some would call abject (or rough), her deft powers of juxtaposition never fail to create hybrid and multiple assemblages that fairly radiate with totemic power.
As always, her work plays on our perception of objects in ways that elicit surprise while simultaneously harkening back to some intangible ground of recognition. Despite the establishment of certain inalienable rules (the continued use of deep matte black for much of the material, for instance), her evocative range is astonishing. Some of these pieces could be the religious fetishes of a post-apocalyptic future tribe, others could be cool high modernist studies of pure form, while still others could be antique tools or toys from the early industrial era. As such, her constructions are unmoored in time.
There is also a keen conceptual logic at play. Her assemblages, for instance, are continuously haunted by the idea of the repeated and the multiple. Her line of doll legs, “Y8”, mounted in a line begs the philosophical questions: ‘what is it that distinguishes the individual from the set’? It also begs the question of how figures are repeated in time. For her series of legs could very well be a three dimensional film strip of motion, the iteration of a cycle of movement.
In fact, Jenkinson’s grasp of individual perception often lends the quality of inherent motion or ‘aliveness’ to her works. Much as the mass of a hanging coat in the corner of your eye can evoke a moving figure, many of Jenkinson’s objects are bundles of barely contained kinetic energy. The piano action barges, “The Fleet”, appear ready to glide off towards the horizon, and her compact Russian ‘speedboat’, “The Russian”, already appears to be vibrating in mid zip.
These qualities of implied motion and life also expose our perceptual suggestibility concerning objects in general. Under scrutiny, Jenkinson’s ‘boats’ only resemble true sea vessels in the broadest, most general details: the speedboat is an antique iron. Yet they are boats in motion, unmistakably. This irrepressibility of suggested form, movement and life continues with the animated quality of her charming “Poppy Table” which appears ready to walk away on its three legs.
This transmutative quality persists in the pieces involving doll faces and puppet molds. Here the unmistakable imprint of the human and doll like edges into the surreal. Yet Jenkinson tempers this new sculptural element with blunt industrial elements. Her boy doll, fitted with wooden plugs for limbs, hovers uncomfortably between manufactured thing and anthropomorphic presence. It’s as if her flirtation with the boundary between the inert and the living has approached some internal limit.
— David Jager