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Collection

An image of Alice in Tokyo by Jenny Watson

Jenny Watson

(Australia 1951 – )

Title
Alice in Tokyo
Place of origin
MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
Year
1984
Media category
Mixed media painting
Materials used
oil, synthetic polymer paint, ink and horse hair on hessian
Dimensions

224.0 x 174.0 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Signed and dated c.l. verso on stretcher, black fibre-tipped pen "JENNY WATSON 1984".
Credit
Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2012
Accession number
279.2012
Copyright
© Jenny Watson
Location
Not on display
Further information

'Alice in Tokyo' recalls the feeling of landing in a foreign country coupled with the realisation that you are very far from home. This large, mixed media oil painting was made when the artist visited Japan for the first time. It depicts the recognisable character 'Alice in Wonderland', who, upon falling down the rabbit hole realises her body and her perceived sense of scale is larger than her seemingly miniature surroundings. The subject was a response to a specific episode when Watson found herself in a café and completely out of scale with the furniture around her.

Adding to this feeling of alienation and a desire for the familiar, or a more deeply rooted context, a short inscription across the painting's foreground reads: 'Hair was used because it is a personal and powerful symbol of life'. This expressive appeal for a personal connection underscores much of Jenny Watson's work, both conceptually and when considering her use of artistic materials.

This work was exhibited at the Sixth Trienniale of India, New Dehli, 1986, where Watson represented Australia and was awarded a gold medal.

Bibliography (5)

Ashley Crawford, Art and Australia (Vol. 28, No. 3), 'Jenny Watson', pg. 344-351, Sydney, Autumn 1991, 347 (colour illus.).

Victoria Lynn, Sixth Triennale-India 1986, 'Report of the international jury', pg. i-xii; 'Australia', pg. 1-3, New Dehli, 1986, iii (colour illus.), 1, 2 (illus.), 3. cat.no. 20

Dr Chris McAuliffe, Jenny Watson: here, there and everywhere, 'Here, there, everywhere', pg. 15-37, Melbourne, Jan 2012, 24, 26 (colour illus.). cat.no. 18

Colin Simpson, Art now: contemporary art post - 1970, 'Jenny Watson', pg. 76-79, Sydney, 1994, 76, 77 (colour illus.).

Natalie Wilson and Anneke Jaspers, Foundation Newsletter #22, 'Curators' and coordinators' reports: Australian art', pg. 6-7, Sydney, Jun 2013, 6.

Exhibition history (2)

Sixth Triennale-India 1986, Lalit Kala Gallery, India, 22 Feb 1986–21 Mar 1986

Jenny Watson: here, there and everywhere, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville, 18 Jan 2012–08 Apr 2012