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The Power of Childlike Wonder with Kerrie Jeffs - Fenton & Fenton

The Power of Childlike Wonder with Kerrie Jeffs

There is a freedom in staying young at heart. Some of the greatest discoveries and creations are born from seeing the world through limitless imagination.

Eclectic, childlike and intimate are through lines in Kerrie Jeffs’ work as demonstrated by her latest exhibition, Skip a Beat.

‘Skip a Beat’ is her commitment to colour and naivety, influenced by a love of the works of Matisse and Gauguin, and the vibrancy of Cuban imagery.

Unrestrained by the boundaries of technique, Jeffs brings to life a pure expression of mood and colour while celebrating the simplicity of form.

We speak to Kerrie about what inspires her to create and how this has affected the direction of ‘Skip A Beat’.

Your collection has come together beautifully. Is there one piece in particular that stands out to you and why?

I couldn’t possibly tear away one artwork from the group and say it’s a favourite. I love all the finished works.

But if I had to choose, the work ‘Hero Peace’ is quietly powerful to me. I painted it after watching Suffragette (2015) for the third time. For me, the film is a compelling reminder of the difficult yet incredible and impactful work that has been done before me. I hope the viewer reflects on his or her own battles and achievements when taking in ‘Hero Peace’.

Kerrie Jeffs Exhibition - Fenton & Fenton

"Hero Peace”
101cm x 152cm
Acrylic on Canvas

What do you hope people will feel or take away when experiencing your work, particularly this exhibition?

I hope the viewer experiences the paradox of my work. There are ‘Skip a Beat’ colour moments which are palpable, and yet behind that, there is an intimate peacefulness and playfulness. I would love observers to feel a sense of joy and a sense of wanting.

What can you share about your creative process and how you go about starting a new body of work?

Painting always fills my need to create, a need that started from a young age. Regardless of the medium, I am just waiting for the colours to click. It takes time and curiosity but it’s a process that comes very organically, resulting in unexpected wonder.

Tell us more about what kick-started your passion for art and creating

I have been creating since I was very young - painting broken glass with textas, making and decorating paper clothes for dolls etc.

I have deconstructed and embellished knit wear for retail, worked on assemblage art that include d dolls heads to budgies to old vinyls and other interesting oddities I have collected - like a bowerbird. It has been a natural movement and progression back to the brush.

Kerrie Jeffs Exhibition - Fenton & Fenton

What is it about Matisse and Gaugin’s work that you love and how has it influenced your style?

I see a study of light and intimate human moments in Gaugin’s island-life art, but they’re painted in moody tones. The incongruity of this appeals to me and the naivety of his work in these scenes are quite meditative.

I love Matisse’s awesome childlike ‘coloured in’ female drawings that are made dynamic with his wonderful use of colour. There is such a simplicity to his outline, he has no desire to give you the whole dimension – I love it.

What's next for you?

I am planning the next body of work to be on a larger scale with more abstraction and an exercise in a limited but joyous colour palette. Naivety and playfulness will always be there - I don’t like the expected and ‘eclectic’ is the undercurrent. I can’t wait to see for myself how it develops.

'Skip a Beat' will be on display at the Fenton & Fenton Gallery from Thursday 8 December to Saturday 17 December.

Explore Kerrie Jeffs’ work here.