The paintings are small scale landscapes and explore the intensity that smaller works or miniatures have. They have a discreet yet heightened method of persuasion, subversive in their intimacy with the viewer and in the privacy and concealment of small things.
The subjects of the paintings often take the form of ruins and re-evaluate how these operate in contemporary settings. However the works are not descriptions of dereliction but rather an exploration of romantic themes. They are reminiscent of paintings of crumbling follies and falling empires but depicting modern structures with fading sherbet colours and acidic electric lights. Through an enquiry in to picturesque themes the paintings push to the edges of these romantic reflections in order to understand their undercurrent in contemporary painting.
Most recently fairground equipment and tents have been used as devices to represent make-shift ruins and themes of fragility, vulnerability and impermanence. Canvas sits in water; ropes are pegged in to fluid land. They are constructed scenes which seem to hold different moments of time concurrently- canvas rots and weeds scramble over surfaces, but some lights remain on or have just been lit. They hold their own histories, ideas of vanished circuses or fairgrounds – events once frenetic now silenced and ominous in dusk or rain. They feel like spaces where furtive and obscured events have taken place but clues to this are few or misleading. And whilst they have a feeling of oppressive static the motile elements such as mud or water seem to be slowly moving the scenes towards a foreboding conclusion.
Joanna Whittle studied at Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Agnews and the Museum of London, whilst taking part in numerous group shows including, most recently, Bethlehem Boys Club at Sidney+Matilda (2018), Confluence at the Herrick Gallery London and Bloc Projects (2018), John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition (2018), RA Summer Exhibition (2019) and ‘The Immaculate Dream’ at Collyer Bristow Gallery (2019). Recently she has undertaken public commissions including producing work for Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust. In 2019 she curated landscape exhibition, ‘Flat+Earth’, at Sidney+Matilda Gallery, Sheffield and is joint winner of the Harley Gallery Open Prize(2019).