posted Apr 1, 2018, 8:24 PM by AustralianCorp   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 1:43 AM ]

For an artist, a commission is always an exciting challenge, but it can also be a daunting one with many decisions to be made with the client on size, palette, subject matter etc. This was the case for practising Caringbah artist, Jennifer Gowen, who is a member of FOH and also a Hazelhurst Gallery volunteer for more than 14 years.

The commission for a triptych for medical business suites in the Sydney CBD followed a series of events which followed on from Jennifer’s solo exhibition at the Moran Gallery in September-October last year.

A few weeks after her solo exhibition finished, Jennifer was selected as a finalist in the national Korea-Australia Arts Foundation Art Prize 2016.

Her works were seen by the CEO of a medical company who purchased three large abstract paintings for their board room. During the process of hanging the works Jennifer was asked if she was also interested in a commission to create an artwork for one of the main walls in their suites. Jennifer accepted the challenge.

It was to be the largest commission she had attempted, but certainly an exciting one too!

Jennifer was given complete freedom on the colour palette, size and subject matter by her client. A wonderful situation for an artist to have that much freedom of expression! When the heat and humidity of summer ended, Jennifer started working in her studio in Caringbah and decided to send “works in progress” images to the CEO so that he could see the initial layers of the triptych being created. He was very happy to see her choices of colour, medium and the progress of the commissioned work, and

was looking forward to seeing it “in situ” in his modern and light- lled premises.

The triptych Coastal Light was collected, and delivered by the art courier to the 14th floor on 26 April.

The CEO is delighted with the triptych and says that there have been many positive comments from both staff  and doctors.

For Jennifer it was a challenging but extremely pleasant & rewarding artistic experience. 

The link to the original:

Postcards from the North - curated by Andrew May

posted May 10, 2017, 3:16 AM by AustralianCorp   [ updated May 10, 2017, 3:17 AM ]

The exhibition sets out to highlight past forms of communication, of journeys sort and remembered in the emotion rendering of objects containing imagery from far off cultures and landscapes, compressed within the four corners of a postcard. Producing a series of 10 works each, 24 local and international artists will explore the postcard format across photography,painting and mixed media. Bringing together personal and universal themes.


Jennifer Gowen: Afghanistan – A Personal Insight

posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:46 PM by Jennifer Gowen   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 6:47 PM ]

29 September 2014 | Art Almanac

In 2011, Gowen spent time working with female students at a contemporary arts centre in Kabul, Afghanistan in her capacity as co-curator of a cultural exchange program.

This body of work, completed over a two year period, is informed by the many aspects she observed of the Afghans’ daily lives – in the context of a fragile, volatile and war-weary country that has endured 30+ years of conflict. Islamic mosques, Kabul’s spandi boys, chaotic traffic, unidentified graves on barren rocky hillsides, war-ravaged buildings, snow-capped mountains and blue Afghan burqas are a few of the memories which make up her second solo exhibition on Afghanistan.

Shoalhaven City Arts Centre
Until October 11, 2014
New South Wales

Shattered Peace, Kabul, 2013, oil on canvas, 90 x 90cm
Courtesy the artist and Shoalhaven City Arts Centre 

Afghan trip inspired artwork

posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:27 PM by Jennifer Gowen   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 6:29 PM ]

ARTIST Jennifer Gowen, of Caringbah, travelled to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2011 as co-curator of an exhibition of Australian works for the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

It was the first international exhibition to be held in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban and the first exhibition of Australian art to be shown in the country.

A month in war-torn Afghanistan left an impression which she has since transferred to canvases, to be exhibited at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, Gymea, from this Saturday.

"The artworks were all from my memory; things I saw and experienced," she said.

The abstract artist worked with female students at the contemporary art centre.

The exhibition is the result of two years' work and focuses on the daily lives of Afghans as they live their lives in a fragile, volatile and war-weary country.

Of her painting, Spand Boys Peddling Good Fortune, she said: "I was intrigued by the street boys weaving in and out of traffic with tin cans with smoke that would waft in the car windows", pointing out the representation of cans and smoke.

"The boys sell the spand and make about two dollars a week for their families," she said.

Afghanistan: A Personal Insight will be at Hazelhurst on May 17-27.


The following was featured in The Sutherland Shire & St George Leader.

Veiled reference gives an unusual insight into Kabul life

posted Apr 21, 2017, 5:48 PM by Jennifer Gowen   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 6:10 PM ]

While westerners typically only look on from the outside at women wearing the burqa, artist Jennifer Gowen began pondering how the world might look from inside the traditional garb.

Back home in Caringbah after a month-long visit to Afghanistan in 2011, she was desperate to recapture what she had seen.

“The image that really stayed in my mind was of the women in their blue burqas weaving in and out of the crowds of men and boys,” she says. “Afghanistan is a very colourless country – the men wear mainly black and grey – so this is the only bit of colour that you see.”

She began experimenting with her own burqa, bought in a Kabul store, and became fascinated by the outside world as seen through the cloth “grille” on the garment.

“Women who wear burqas see the world differently from us western women,” she says. “They see it as a soft-focus blur of colours looking through the squares.”

The result of her experiments is a striking series of more than 40 works, many featuring an impressionistic interpretation of how the world appears from inside a burqa.

Gowen’s trip to Kabul with fellow artist Annette Tzavaras involved an unusual artistic “mission”. They each carried 25 artworks by a rollcall of prominent Australian artists, including Euan Macleod, Ann Thomson, Jiawei Shen and Lucy Culliton.

The works were to be shown at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in the war-torn city, in an event that turned out to be far more significant than either Gowen or Tzavaras realised.

“When we got there it was a lot bigger than we expected,” says Gowen. “In fact, it was the first international exhibition to be held in the country since the fall of the Taliban.”

And the response from the locals, long starved of artistic input under the Taliban, was overwhelming.

“We had about 220 people at the opening,” says Gowen. “We expected about 20 because it had rained for a day and a half beforehand turning the roads of Kabul to mud. That’s how keen they are.”

Gowen is unsure when or if she will return to Afghanistan but the country and its people occupy a special place in her heart and she continues to do what she can to help, in particular for the women and children there.

“I had no idea the effect the trip would have on my life,” she says. “It was life-changing and has absorbed my mind ever since.”

Afghanistan – A Personal Insight is on show at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea, from May 16 to May 27.

The following was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald.

1-5 of 5