Jennifer Valmadre is a Cairns-based artist who skilfully works across a range of media, including ceramics, sculpture and encaustic painting. Continuum spans seventeen years of her art practice and focuses on three works in the Permanent Collection of the Cairns Art Gallery. Jennifer grew up on the family’s sugar cane farm near Cairns. Land and the cyclical processes of farming informed much of her early work. She explains that the rhythm and predictability of farm life gave her a deep sense of security, even when the landscape around her was utterly transformed after harvesting of the cane, and when the land was laid bare and open to the world. The first of Valmadre’s works was acquired by the Gallery in 2004. Entitled The Source, it is a large-scale wall installation that incorporates different materials including wax, enamel spray paint, bitumen and French polish. In 2010 the Gallery acquired a second work in ceramics entitled Sugar, and this year a third work was acquired from the Gallery’s biennial local contemporary artists’ showcase exhibition, ARTNOW FNQ.
Entitled Ossified Scribbling, Valmadre’s new work references The Source, and her early sugar cane farm life. Now in her 50s, she acknowledges that The Source was informed by an idyllic childhood that allowed for great space and independence and that the passing of the years has, necessarily reshaped her perceptions of the world and her approach to making art. Continuum explores Valmadre’s lifelong fascination with experimentation and using different materials. As she says,
‘I like to control the variables [new materials]…perhaps this is a little like the farming of my youth’.