The European debut of the American artist Jennifer Packer, known for her ability to give portraits and still lifes a remarkably contemporary urgency. A lively approach to colour and a wisely playful use of scale are the keys ingredients to this potent painting which is capable of revealing and hiding simultaneously, dissolving figures into abstraction. In an efficient mix of observation, improvisation and memory, the New York painter re-elaborates her life and the lives of those closest to her, depicting the physical and emotional fragility of the human experience. Emblematic of this are the works created in response to the institutionalised violence against African-Americans. Because, as Packer explains, standing up for the political messages in her art, “representation and observation of life are ways of bearing witness and sharing your testimony.” Canvases which speak of loss and laceration which, in the exhibition on display at the Serpentine Gallery, are flanked by intimate portraits of family and friends of the artist in remarkably natural poses. On display, paintings and drawings that document the work of Packer over the last ten years with particular emphasis placed on more recent works.
More than 50 artists, half a millennium of art and the immense variety of the planet’s cultures - a fascinating journey awaits at the Camden Art Centre, exploring the intimate tie between humans and plants.