Graduated from the Royal College Art, Kelly Jenkins is a British artist who creates tactile, embroidered paintings that are both atmospheric and powerful. Combining highly intricate embroidery with abstract landscape painting, Kelly is influenced by the drama and light of Impressionism and Romanticism along with elements of graffiti, erosion and vandalism.
In a nutshell its order & chaos. Impulsive yet premeditated. I prefer to create each of my paintings from memory, enabling me to produce images and compositions that are more abstracted and expressional interpretations of my memories. Each piece evolves through a highly contrasting, two-stage process; the first is with a loose, energetic and spontaneous approach to paint my ‘memory-scapes’. I throw, scrape, scratch, smear, wipe, roller, spray and splatter paint onto canvas. Very rarely do I pick up a brush! I paint with oils, acrylics, spray paint and pastels, I love the layering of different mediums and the tactility this gives the painting.
The second stage is followed by a more controlled approach, with many labour intensive hours of carefully planned embroidery where I use my sewing machine to 'draw' with stitch directly into the painted canvas.
The impetus for my embroidery is fuelled by my love of texture and stitch; I simply don’t feel a painting is real or complete until it’s got some sort of stitch in it. The embroidery’s playful, darker side touches upon the historical and political landscape of textile art, its status and place in fine art and the stereotypes that surround it. Hence my embroidery is always ‘on top’, elevating its status as the dominant medium in my paintings. To me, this handmade process enhances the painting underneath and depicts my personal experiences by using my most immediate and fined tuned tools - my hands. I engage with each artwork differently but with a sense of process, attachment and dedication to the art of embroidery and not a means to an end for the final effect. It is a meditative experience, a labour of love and a technique passed down to me by my mother and grandmother so it’s inclusion in each painting is paramount and of sentimental importance.
Once stretched, the final embroidered painting results in layers of paint and stitch that embody an arresting sense of depth and movement; an aesthetic that’s highly tactile and full of life. They conjure up feelings of spontaneity, happenstance and cherished moments and through their texture these memories and emotions become tangible.