Jenny-Marie Johnsen



Jenny-Marie Johnsen works with nature and the area between painting and photography.  Her photographs are processed digitally, often with an accompanying video.  She tries to emphasise painterly qualities while at the same time not losing the photographic origin and the references to nature.  Johnsen often stays with the same theme for a long period of time.  By continually investigating new perspectives within the theme she wants to illuminate different aspects of each theme.

Johnsen describes herself as a painter rather than a photographer, something which emerges clearly in the video Eclipse and the accompanying photo series which were shown at the exhibition ”In/Between: Localize” in Stamsund (2006).  The title is taken from a phenomenon of nature, but what we see is not an example of an actual solar eclipse.  The video and the photo series originate in a completely abstract phenomenon made by the camera lens.  This tension between the referential and the non-figurative is one of the most prominent aspects of Johnsen’s work.  Although Eclipse allows associations of eclipses and hovering spheres it is also an investigation of the mixture of tempo, movement and colour during the brief time they occur.  And in spite of the fact that the work has references to the minimalist, non-figurative and optically oriented parts of modernisn, she is not trying to show an autonomous, non-referential work.  Rather she presents us with a layer of associations and meanings.  The way that Eclipse is presented, in a large white cold-storage facility on the quay for the ferry  in Stamsund, puts it in a relationship with its surroundings.  In the centre of the big square room with the ceiling height of a church, stand four columns in a square.

The projection covers the whole of one wall which can be seen between two of the columns. The relationship between the work and the architecture can be seen symbolically.  The slow gliding circles give associations not only to spheres hovering through the universe but can also be understood as  a symbol of the universal, the world of ideas.  This is in contrast to the floor, and the square shape of the columns which can be seen as a symbol of the earthly, the four elements and the four corners of the world.  By doing this the artist connects not only the eternal and the final, the universal and the particular, but also the macro- and micro-cosmos.  The hovering sphere can be seen as the egg in the womb.  Such associations are easy to make but not necessary.  Johnsen is an artist who investigates the mystery of colour , the impact on our senses and what kind of atmosphere is created.  There are unlimited possibilities, like in the little universe of the egg.

Janeke Meyer Utne