When a viewer stares at a Jo Dennis painting for a few moments and closes their eyes they can often find that the images are etched into their subconscious. Dark? Certainly. Brilliant? If that means approaching the modern condition in a fresh and unique way then, yes, that too.
These paintings are tornadoes through the big throbbing issues buried in the darkest corners of the contemporary mind. Sex, violence and vanity are all thrown together in a way which argues for their beauty. In this world death and malfunction are as wondrous and deserving as the quaintest Rococo garden. In the contemporary mind there is often no refuge in the shade and this is work developed in those sinister shadows. It is like witnessing society through the shards of a broken mirror, catching glimpses of the world as they fight to see their own reflection. All the modern meanings of the primal instincts are called into question by Dennis’ work and are her response is to represent them savagely. The art is made up of stark, glaring colours and beautifully disturbing images of twisting and convulsing shapes. Often, the power in this work comes not from what you see but what you think you see. This is the quality that keeps the viewer coming back for more.
Throughout these paintings there is something comically dramatic bubbling under the surface, as though they could be plans for a great, never performed Absurdist play. They could be the costumes for characters designed to unsettle and surprise or they could be comments on the costumes we, as society, chose to wear. Either way, one thing is for sure; you can not ignore them.
Dennis is a product of our times and she uses all the ills and pains and paints them to her advantage. Her works bubbles with clever images, startling palettes and themes that would shock your granny but delight your mind. Dennis is a truly gifted artist in an age when our ideas about human beauty are being chewed up and spat out.