Jahnne Pasco-White: Kin
Art Ink and Unlikely Publishing
A three-year painting and drawing project by artist Jahnne Pasco-White, which the artist developed during a significant life-changing cycle of pregnancy, birth and new motherhood, is beautifully displayed and documented in this publication titled ‘Kin’. The chapters have been intentionally designed by editor Dr N.A.J. Taylor (Pasco-White’s partner) to flow from one idea to the next via subtle colour shifts in the 100% recycled paper, which, drawn from the lighter hues of Pasco-White’s palette, form a cohesive coming together of the words and artworks featured within the medium of this book.
Pasco-White conveys her own transformational experiences and contemplations of bringing new life into the world. The project reveals how she sought to expand the traditional confines of kin beyond the ideologies of the nuclear family; and how her heightened sense of ecological awareness – in connection to others; in and of the body; within the sphere of domesticity, and more broadly in the industrial world – informs the context, meaning and material outcomes of her work.
Motion in the Opposite Direction (2017) is a large-scale work on the outer façade of an industrial wall in an overgrown urban lot in Coburg, Melbourne. Pasco-White applied a layer of blue paint to the bluestone wall that she made from wild fennel, grasses, thistles, sugar spray paint, raw blue pigments, turmeric, rainwater, plaster, grout and found rubbish, and left it to the elements to evolve over time through a continuous state of change as the painterly concoction faded and washed away revealing new visual and textural imaginations. In the relevant essay ‘To accrete a surface’, Pasco-White explains, ‘The use of material in the environment does not operate in a linear fashion, but instead opens to more expansive possibilities of forging new collaborations of old and new material throughout the process of getting to know the qualities of the medium, to understand technique so one can abandon it.’
Pasco-White describes the 2019 messmates series as her ‘largest’ and ‘most intimate’ body of work. Eleven overlapping panels of unframed canvas reached around the expanse of four gallery walls in a swathe of brilliant golds, soft and deeper tones of blush, mauve, blue and emerald, the bold layered shapes imbued with the notion of embodiment as a give and take process of the inner and outer actualities of the self and in the making of kin.
‘Kin’ presents a compilation of insightful written works that frame Pasco-White’s project as one that is extraordinary in thought, process, scale and visual beauty. The contributors include curators, lecturers, researchers, publishers and academics, such as Jessica Bridgfoot, Director Bendigo Art Gallery, Dr Helen Johnson, painter and lecturer in Fine Art at Monash University, and Dr Kate Wright, research Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität’s Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, to name a few.
The book is richly illustrated from cover to cover with works pictured in their entirety and shots that zoom in on the layers, textures, brush marks, cuts and frays.
Kirsty Francis is a Sydney-based arts writer.