Q&A: Jordy Hewitt

Perth-born Jordy Hewitt reflects on her own experience to create absorbing pictures that consider wider psychological themes in her latest exhibition, Pool.

Having exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions and prizes, Jordy Hewitt is an emerging Australian artist and painter to keep an eye on.

Her passion from a young age was to be a singer, playing in bands and working at music venues in Melbourne in her mid-twenties, and it wasn’t until she returned to Perth that she explored drawing and painting.

After 18 months of life drawing groups and classes, she studied Fine Arts and graduated from Curtin University in 2014.

“The visual art thing came as a surprise to me as much as anyone,” Jordy explains. “Although, I had always loved photography and had briefly studied and worked in that field too, so it’s all interconnected.”

Jordy’s sixth solo exhibition, Pool, follows on from ‘Act One Scene One’ at Gallerysmith Project Space (VIC) and ‘Ledge Point’ at Moana Project Space (WA) in 2015.

We caught up with her ahead of the opening night at Turner Galleries on Friday June 10…

Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest body of works, Pool.
I’m at the happiest and calmest place I’ve ever been in my life. It marks a new start for me and I honestly struggled for many years to have faith that I would ever feel this way. I want this exhibition to be a bit of a surprise so I’m only sharing one image and this bit of writing:

Pool reflects a magical place, a family place, an ancient place
Pool is reservoir, amalgamation, mystery and mirror
Pool is a call to the spirits of the young
Pool is a new dream, a long time coming

What interests you most about your particular area of expertise?
I guess there’s something about a painting, a thing, that’s unique, been poured over and wrestled with by the artist. Gorky talks about the challenge of painting as “twisting the devil”, that painting is impossible to talk about and that he doesn’t know what painting is (if he did he would get a patent out on it so no one else could do it). Painting lends itself to a personal or raw communication – there’s nowhere to hide in a powerful painting, and that’s what I want to do.
I’m always interested in the personality or energy of the work and how it speaks to the person who finds it magnetic, how does it relate to them and their life?
I really want to make and to collect art that speaks emotionally and primitively. I do love story and concept but materiality is fundamental, it’s primary for me.

What is unique about the way you work?
God I don’t know – I’m alone all the time, I sit around in my studio staring at paintings, when I paint I paint fast, I don’t like to always be working – I work in bursts, I need to be in love with the work for it to progress and it’s easy to be led astray from that. There’s no clock off. My work is everything I’m doing so it requires me to be balanced and healthy because I want to have a good life, that’s not just about the art I produce.

Favourite material/technique to work with?
I started using oils two years ago and it has significantly changed my work. I’m still learning so much about colour, light, body, moving the substance around, it goes on and on.

Biggest career moment?
It’s probably a bit early in my career for big moments. Every achievement is a big moment. Dr Christopher Heathcote (art critic and historian) left a message for me at my solo show in Melbourne last year (Act One Scene One) saying – your paintings are better than I suspect you realise – and that I should focus on my obvious strength of painting (he thought the accompanying text and images detracted from the work). That was encouraging to me and came at a pertinent time. We had some dialogue about the pitfalls of institutionalised art education following that.

Who/what are your top influencers?
My view of the ocean.
My partner Nic Brunsdon.
The milestones in my personal life.

If you could collaborate with anyone on any type of project, who would it be?
A fashion colab – Giambattista Valli or Alexander McQueen.
I think furniture and ceramics are things I’d like to attempt.
I’m sure there will be art/space colabs down the track with Nic, who is an architect.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
It’s not your job to judge your work, it’s your job to make it.

Where can people in Perth see your work?
I often entertain visitors at my studio in Fremantle – send me an email at jordyhewitt@gmail.com.

Jordy’s upcoming exhibition, Pool, will be at Turner Galleries Engine Rooms from June 10 – July 9. Margaret Moore will give an opening talk at 5.30pm on opening night (Friday June 10) with drinks to follow from 6-8pm.

 

Jordy Hewitt
jordyhewitt.com

Turner Galleries
turnergalleries.com.au