Vanessa Lee Jones, Hortus Conclusus

Current Exhibition

31 Mar, 2023 - 30 Apr, 2023

This selection of new works by American artist, Vanessa Lee Jones, draws attention to her play with unnatural light connecting the viewer to an imagined reality.

Artworks available to purchase here

Hortus Conclusus is the Latin for enclosed garden and is most closely associated with medieval Christian art, particularly the iconography of Mary and Paradise. When one thinks of Eden, images of both the garden and snake are brought to mind. The enclosed garden embodies the human presence, time and awareness. Yet, its’ enduring representation lies in its ability to depict the unseen and the internal.

The idea of the enclosed garden, with its boundaries around nature, has existed across cultures since the beginning of time. This exhibition contends with the tension between nature and culture; isolation and protection; beauty and danger, expressed in its serpentine lines, digital light, symbolic imagery, as well as the process of painting itself.

In Hortus Conclusus, Vanessa uses her own image, the female self-portrait, in reference to the long line of women painters in the Western canon. In addition, she draws connections with female Western writers and Korean folktales to emphasise the transpersonal connection of the enclosed garden, alongside her own cultural heritage embedded in the paintings. Her traditional process of layering paint over time is a mimicry of the representation of the enclosed garden itself together with the use of familiar symbols and figures, like snails, snakes and death, that, at their most elemental level, connect across cultures. Her paintings play with, and merge, the unnatural light and colour of her image references from a contemporary device with traditional painting techniques and ancestral connections. This approach attempts to connect the viewer to an imagined reality repeated across time.

Images: Installation views of Hortus Conclusus. Photography, Kate Bowe-O’Brien.

  • Date:

    31 Mar, 2023 - 30 Apr, 2023
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