Millgate Museum, Newark
Sat 1st May - 20th June


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“You can never judge a book by its cover”
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, 1947

This body of work playfully questions the qualities, secret ambitions and inner thoughts of those who choose to keep their cards close to their chest. Using games, masks and nursery rhymes, the artist focuses on the early years when personality traits are developing. Imagery is deliberately child-like where some characters appear more defined than others. Sketchbook drawings and colour studies inform the work, though the final pieces are painted from imagination.

A number of devices are used to tease and engage the viewer allowing them to bring their own experiences and questions to the work. This includes the use of masks to disguise/reveal personality whilst props and symbolism also add to the mystery. For example, ‘Not a Dormouse’ depicts a cha
+racter disguised as a mouse holding toys - a crow and a brick with a picture of a fox on it. The viewer is invited to question the role of each animal and associated trait. Also, who is controlling who?

Some works are inspired by traditional rhymes which often have roots in a darker past. For example ‘Here Comes the Candle...’ refers to the nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ and the execution procession of debtors and criminals through London. At first glance the work looks colourful and vibrant, but the masks and games create ambiguity. Again, this allows for different interpretations.

This body of work can be viewed on many levels but the Jackie hopes you will enjoy it primarily for the colour, painterly qualities, playfulness and layered meanings.

Jackie Berridge 2010