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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Chris Jennings

I have consistently looked at the representation and "embodiment" of that which may otherwise be considered "invisible" or "intangible" but nonetheless may be experienced as having "real" presence. I have attempted to deal with these elements, not only through my insistence on the use of the physicality of oil paint, but in some works, through the paradoxical use of steel or wood panels to embody absence. I am intellectually and practically provoked by the challenged of making work which, by virtue of its specificity, its physical weight and attention to detail, will "dissolve" into itself. The power of saturated colour to hover in space and remain as an after-image, a visual memory, to reconstitute itself on top of another form, has serious potential for dealing with the immanent or numinous. Work in progress Attachments & Separations uses conjoined or juxtaposed canvases, sometimes of differing dimension and presented at an angle to the wall, in order to tackle concepts of connection, fracture and "wholeness". Here form, line and colour initiate a "dovetailing", visually contradicting the formal separation or breaking of the component elements of the work.

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Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Scrutiny and Immanence
A retrospective of thirteen years of my work including paintings, drawings, notebooks, and preparatory maquettes. The works covered a number of periods and developments of my work and thinking: studying problems of representation, through painting with related text, with reference to the early notebooks of Wittgenstein; an investigation into the representation, through painting and integrated "heavy" materials i.e. steel panels, of absence and presence (immanence); a focus on the role and perception of colour, and the accumulation of the painted surface as ‘meaning’, the incarnation of idea and a record of the passing of time; studying the fundamental role of drawing in the work and looking at the nature of drawing as notation and text that may be "read" and interpreted into another idiom, eg. music or dance.


Outcome 2 - Descriptions
The sets of my work in this exhibition, part of the Experiential Knowledge Conference deal with the depiction, through an intense material inscription (the visual work), of the coming together and recording of specific objects at specific moments (or duration of time), constituting a "state of affairs": Equus Caballus: a matter of kind/a matter of degree consisted of five paintings and two texts. The central painting was made from direct observation. On the left side the paintings deal with representation through mass. On the right side there is a linear representation. Both sets look at distinct modes of representation and the "holding" or "sustaining" of the image despite a sequential paring down of the image.
Skull, three drawings from a series, functions in much the same way: experimenting with technical means of representation. A drawing of the skull from direct observation is flanked by two drawings dealing with a) mass and b) the interior spaces of the skull, both becoming increasingly spare but intense and pushing at the retention of the skull’s identity.


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