About Jenny McMaster
Jenny's work focuses on tears and ruptures, be they in the physical landscape or the social environment. On a formal level she has always been inclined to break the picture plane, be it through a line of blanket stitches holding together canvas and upholstery fabric, or an eyelet cut into handmade paper. We inhabit a reality in which we often feel profoundly unsettled, finding ourselves between relationships, between contracts, between world views. We work with what we've got, second hand clothes, buckled paper or perhaps a personal narrative with holes in the plot. We are always in transit, in the process of damage control.
Fibres, encaustics and performance art are all important aspects of Jenny's artistic practice with the use of thread running through them as a connecting filament. The traditional medium of painting is used in tandem with the applied arts of paper making and embroidery. The running stitch, blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch are constants in Jenny's work representing an effort to repair, heal or draw together fault lines without any attempt to hid the rupture which previously occurred. Raw or recycled materials are not hidden but embraced as a part of her aesthetic. A tear or rupture is accompanied by pain and vulnerability but it also represents an opportunity to rebuild in a fashion which accommodates new circumstances.
Jenny's work is frequently concerned with mapping be it maps of a more literal sort such as those of Almonte or Ottawa, or haptic maps of the human body written in the creases and folds of clothing. She has also facilitated mapping through conversations which leave their imprint through the leaking of beverages from faulty receptacles and decanters. In her performances the trickster figures upturn formal events sometimes leading to raucous parties drawing on the transformative power of the carnivalesque. Food and drink, which generally act as a social glue, end up spilled on the table or laid out on the floor. The nature of the event is called into question but also the import of the edibles. All stuff has a history.
In 2013 Jenny joined the Enriched Bread Artist Studios. She was member of Blink Gallery before the artist run centre closed in 2017. She has exhibited at Centrepointe Theatre Gallery, City Hall Gallery, the Ottawa School of Art, the OAG, Art Guise and the Centre Town Art Tour in Ottawa. Her art was purchased by the City of Ottawa in 2011. She has also shown her work at Concordia's VAV Gallery in Montreal as well as Toronto Alternative Fashion Week, Gallery 1313, Engine Gallery and AWOL in Toronto. She took part in a thematic residency entitled Society is a Workshop at Banff Centre in 2013.