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Jean Isherwood

In their own words

Recorded 1972

Jean Isherwood
Audio: 2 minutes

I am now commencing a new collection of paintings based mainly on drawings I’ve done over the years of my daughter Jacqueline in various activities, reading, sleeping, sewing. The first painting I finished in this vein, was a large picture of her sitting in a kitchen she had in Balmain. It had beautiful church windows, real church windows, and pews for the seats in the kitchen, and she has a psychedelic dress on. Light is coming through the coloured window and falling on the objects on the table and on my daughter and the whole effect is, to my mind, very beautiful. I think it one of my most successful paintings to date. It has a spiritual quality, I think, and of course my feeling towards my daughter makes this more so. I think all the paintings of her that I do might have this spiritual quality.

I don’t feel at all interested to go along with the really avant-garde work and I cannot stand the new non-art which is being practised by all the young fellows now. Minimal art, conceptual art – I feel too that it may even be the role of women in painting to preserve art, because women are not destructive and it seems to me that the young fellows are all destructive in their painting, so that women may keep art on some sort of wholesome growth, not static, not stationary at all, growing but wholesome.

I have never been the type of painter who develops one theme and/or paints one type of subject all their lives, as many artists do. When I have felt that I have done a satisfactory painting, I have nearly always wanted to go on to something quite different.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Jean Isherwood is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

Related people

Jean Isherwood OAM

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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