All images copyright Jennifer Shufflebotham. All rights reserved.
"One day, some friends were talking about their childhood memories; they had any number; but I, who had just been looking at my old photographs, had non left”
Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes.
The shifting qualities of memory are of primary concern to painter Jennifer Shufflebotham. After discovering a collection of 35 mm photographic slides in a family attic, she began to use these as starting points for paintings, layering and refocusing the images to build new, sometimes abstracted compositions from these vintage family images. Interested in the physical qualities of the slides as objects as well as images, Shufflebotham points toward the problematic disposability of contemporary digital photographs. When every single moment can be captured on a camera phone today, what value do these images hold? This question sits in relation to the context of photography in the 1960s which was expensive and therefore limited, and a very different kind of photograph to many of today’s digitally captured images that never even leave the screens on which they are displayed.
The French philosopher and linguist Roland Barthes wrote extensively on the role of photography. One of his ideas that Shufflebotham keenly investigates is how photographs can ‘block’ memory: that the photographic image can actually replace the memories in our minds. By working with found photographic slides and another series of paintings using scenes from new holiday photographs she adds a new layer of inquiry altering images that capture ‘real’ experience into reimagined narratives. These paintings therefore function in a similar way to memory: fragments are lost, details exaggerated, places and people misremembered. She creates scenes where memories slide in and out of focus, where the viewer cannot be sure what might be truth and what might be fiction. The boundaries of memory, experience and imagination are muddled and mixed up.
“Show your photographs to someone – he will immediately show you his: “Look this is my brother; this is me as a child,” etc.; the Photograph is never anything but an antiphon of “look,” “See,” “Here it is”;
Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes.
2016 - 'End||Begin' as a part of 'Scratch the Surface' mental health arts festival, City Arcade, Coventry
2015 - 'SALON' Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham
2015 - 'Found' solo exhibition at The CCCA (Coventry Center for Contemporary Arts), Coventry
2015 - 'The Coventry University Drawing Prize 2015'
The Lewis Gallery, Rugby School & Atkins Gallery, Hinkley
2015 - 'New Art West Midlands 2015' Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery & The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham.
12.02.15 - 17.05.15
2014 - 'Hauntology' Pigeon, Burton on Trent
2014 - 'Group Show' The Pod, Coventry.
2014 - 'Free Range' The Old Truman Brewery, London.
2014 - 'Cut Above' Coventry University Fine Art Degree Show, Coventry.
2014 - 'Coventry University Drawing Prize 2014' The Lewis Gallery, Rugby.
2014 - 'Half Cut' Coventry University Fine Art Half Year Show, Coventry.
2014 - Twelve month Studio Residency at The Pod, Coventry
2014 - Commissioned by Severn Trent Water to create work for Coventry Headquarters.