From Sharne Wolff…
Jenny Sages might be well known to Archibald Prize-goers as the most popular runner up of the annual portrait award but she’s also highly regarded for her significant contribution to Australian abstract landscape painting. Born in Shanghai to Russian parents Sages’ family brought her to Australia in 1948. After a varied career in illustration and magazine writing she only commenced full-time painting in her early 50s. Since that time Sages has immersed herself in the Australian landscape, held almost twenty solo shows and been awarded numerous prizes including the Wynne Prize for landscape painting.
Show Me the Way is Sages first show of new work in two years. It includes around 30 works that for some reason, like much of her previous work, seem awkwardly classified as paintings. Using a time consuming process of applying encaustic (wax) to board and waiting on a lengthy drying process, colour pigment and oil are applied on top and marks carved into the wax. It’s the medium that makes this work so compelling. The warm and palpable appearance of Sages’ art encourages a desire to reach out and touch it – just to see how it feels on your hand.
Sages employs a subtle earthy palette and draws the viewer close with delicate detailed lines, squiggles and dots that could simultaneously mean anything and nothing. These are fewer paintings ‘of’ landscape but timeless visual images that record the sensation of being in it.
Until November 23
King Street Gallery, Darlinghurst.
Pic: Jenny Sages, In the Thickets 2013. Encaustic, pigment and oil 40 x 40cm. Courtesy the artist and King Street Gallery.