6 - 8pm, Thursday 14th Nov


Jenny Topfer - Not stated

Graham Greene said of “human nature (that it) is not black and white but black and grey.” Something similar might be said of Jenny Topfer’s white paintings which, like those of Robert Ryman, pretend to be white but are in fact substantiated by a complex morphology of other pigments and structures, of gestures and body.
As tempting as it might be to see their relative whiteness as evidence of distillation, even a cleansing of the burdens of visual fatigue, Topfer’s white, like Ryman’s, allows the painting to be something ‘other’ and though Ryman’s architectonic intent differs significantly from Topfer’s gestural adventure, both choose to operate on a chromatic margin so that as viewers we too might approach seeing, or more particularly perceiving with a heightened sense of nuance and judgement.
The landscape around Jenny’s studio is hardy. Situated high on the Southern Midlands hills the tussock grasses and fence-lines are shaped by wind, the sky has a turbulence and portent that diminishes the tonal bandwidth of the view. Much like its middle eastern namesake Bagdad, the chromatic field of the environment feels narrow, though in Tasmania the palette is less “desert storm” and more closely approximates the moodier green /grey camouflage of northern Europe.
The notion of a reduced tonal range feels significant for a painter whose work is almost entirely white. Other pigments might well be used initially in the roving, orienteering phase of mark making, but they are essentially obscured by a snowy camouflage, a blanket that mutes the more voluble ferment below. One senses that Jenny prefers whisper over clamour and that the contingencies of communication only stand a chance without the pressure of amplification.


Paddington Cnr of Hampden St., Cecil Ln, Paddington NSW 2021