This month’s exhibition at the White Horse Gallery presents a series of paintings and drawings of rooms by Victoria Jinivizian. Victoria was trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, exhibits regularly and is an established tutor at the Marlborough College Summer School.
Henri Matisse expressed a desire for art to be ‘something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue’. If this view needs any justification then maybe the works on show at the White Horse Gallery fulfil this role.
The gentility, warmth and calm of an English living room may seem to some to be rather dull subject matter. But, as is often the case with drawings and paintings, there is more here than initially meets the eye.
Many of Victoria’s rooms are empty of people – others hold a single figure. Some seem at ease – Decision Making or Room, Wiltshire – while others appear tense or pre-occupied – such as Interior, Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor’s, Kardamyli or Waiting for Daisy.
Some of these titles invite us to invent a storyline, some remain more purely descriptive. Are these ‘untroubled domestic interiors’, or do they contain a degree of disquiet?
What is clear is that these are works by an artist who is content to explore her close surroundings, who is prepared to spend time observing the familiar in a manner reaching back to the so-called ‘Intimiste’ painters: Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard.
A rich tradition indeed. Apart from creating a sense of intimacy, these mid-twentieth century French painters enjoyed exploring pattern and rich colour interactions. As Bonnard once said: ‘Colour does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it.’
Stand across the room at the White Horse exhibition and you will readily see the intelligence and enjoyment of colour in Victoria’s paintings. She employs a steady, patient, deliberate method – perhaps a little like hammering a bowl out of a flat piece of metal. It’s a disciplined process indeed.
It is worth pausing here to acknowledge the skill in the hanging of this, and in fact all of the exhibitions in the White Horse Gallery. Angus MacLennan is to be congratulated on his ability to invite us to pick up threads that weave their way through an artist’s work.
A final word … on your way into – or out of – the exhibition, be sure not to miss what for me is a gem of a picture. The etching on the shelf in the corner of the gallery titled: Bedroom. It could delay you for some time.
The exhibition continues at the White Horse Gallery until December 2 – during the White Horse Bookshop’s opening hours