Jen Collee studied fine art at Glasgow School of Art and was awarded a first for her dissertation in Historical and Critical studies and has also gained an honours degree in science. She currently works from her Edinburgh studio and has exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery, Visual Art Scotland and the Scottish Society of Artists show alongside the Glasgow Art Fair, the Edinburgh Festival and Art London. Her work hangs in many public and private collections worldwide.
She drew horses constantly as a child, so from a very early age so is very familiar with their anatomy. The large scale animal paintings came about after a commission of a 7’ friesian cow for the Television presenter Gabby Logan; this large scale work has since lead to tremendous success.
“I remember my first attempts well aged two on the wall with a biro pen”
“The big paintings usually start from a tiny drawing on whatever is to hand, often after some mental coaxing with an expresso. Having established my composition the next step is to launch straight in to the larger canvas with the intention of capturing the essential rhythm of the subject with the minimum of detail. As each mark has a permanency the first few marks are crucial, there is no room for error and the work needs to be completed in one sitting. So naturally there is some trepidation about the whole procedure. If the structure is wrong the canvas has to be abandoned. These works require a degree of physical exertion, I often think of painting as a battle or the traces left after a dance, explosive marks can only be produced by explosive gestures so I need to wait until mind and body are ready before I launch in. Hair or hooves or detail are of no interest to me only the emotion, the energy, and the unexpected success of a chaotic grouping of painterly gestures that can be read as space, solidity or movement. Why these marks work I do not always know but it is the element of surprise and discovery that hooks me. The success of a painting depends as much on what is left out as what is there, it is that tension between contrasting elements that work together to give vitality to a work.