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Bob Jenyns

1944 – 2015

Robert ‘Bob’ Jenyns grew up in Victoria and gained his diploma in art from the Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1964. From 1967 he lived in Daylesford, Victoria with his wife, well-known sculptor Lorraine Jenyns. Later, they moved to Tasmania, where he taught at the University of Tasmania until 2004. Exhibiting with Watters in Sydney from the 1970s, Jenyns brought forth a large body of apparently ‘naïve’ work that included sculptures, prints, drawings, tapestries and paintings. In fact, Jenyns was anything but unversed in art; for example, in Hobart in 1990 he curated Living in the 70s: Photographs by Carol Jerrems, which was the first exhibition to survey Jerrems’s now-legendary career. His work was included in many significant exhibitions from the early 1970s including the first Biennale of Sydney (1973); the 1973, 1975 and 1978 Mildura Sculpture Triennials; the 1981 Australian Perspecta; the 2nd Australian Sculpture Biennale; and the 1990 Sculpture Triennial. In 2007 he won the valuable Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award with Pont de l’Archeveche, a caravan made from oversized ‘Meccano’ referring to the caravan Albert Tucker built in his Paris hotel room with a view to towing it around France in the 1950s. Following his death, Watters Gallery director Geoffrey Legge called Jenyns an ‘irrepressible force of indomitable good humour in the face of all contingencies’, observing that ‘in their characters and dispositions Bob and his wife, Lorraine, were wonderful in quite different ways but together their natures seemed to coalesce and to share and project an immutable and benevolent aura.’ As a sculptor, Legge said, ‘his life was measured out with 22 solo exhibitions, each exploring his reactions to different subjects, all enjoyable and inventive, all with an apparent simplicity of means which clothed a high level of aesthetic brilliance.’ Jenyns’s high-spirited, deceptively simple works are held in the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition Bob Jenyns: The Art of the Traveller toured to various venues in 2018.

Bob Jenyns made a portrait sculpture to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Legge’s and Watters’s gallery. It was exhibited in Frank’s Flat, curated by Geoffrey and Sonia Legge for the Maitland Regional Art Gallery 17 May – 16 July 2011, and appears on the cover of the catalogue.

Updated 2019