Jacqui Colley is an award-winning New Zealand artist. Born in Zambia, she was raised in Cape Town, South Africa where she studied graphic design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology before moving to New Zealand in1996. Her work is exhibited internationally and she is regularly involved with collaborations, residencies and special projects.
“Gesture is writ large in Jacqui Colley’s paintings and the how and the what of the artworks are given equal weight. The process of mark-making over time and through space is integral to her work and each canvas presents distinct material clues to the artist’s own somatic experience of the work. The eloquent physicality of Colley’s practice is evident in each decisive brushstroke, scored line, or paint spatter; the paintings are rich with suspended movement.
Colley describes her painting practice as akin to jazz improvisation and, like a jazz musician might do with time signature or key, Colley sets herself rules and then proceeds to deconstruct them. Painterly melodies of line and forms weave around one another in dynamic compositions. Visual notes such as texture, colour, and opacity might form harmonic chords or might provide a staccato counterpoint to one another. The juxtaposition of these elements against pools of visual silence create moments of poised tension within “the four-sided arena”(1) of the canvas.
Without the camouflage provided by figurative depictions, Jacqui Colley’s acts of painting are laid bare on the canvas. She embraces the deliberate act of mark-making as well as the elements of serendipity that come from experimentation. These are intimate artworks that engage us in conversation about what and how we experience what is in front of us.”
(1) Rosenberg, Harold. “American Action Painters”. ARTnews: December 1952
by Lisa Wilkie
2023 – To The Sea