Jessica Webster / Murderer / 2015

Jessica Webster / Murderer / 2015
02 July - 13 August 2015
Installation View

Jessica Webster

Sequence 2, (looking into dark space), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 38 x 49cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 4 (Master, are the branches moving...?) , 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 64.5 x 85cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 1, (a bittersweet life), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 90.5 x 108cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 3, (miniature portrait & standoff in the rain), 2015 oil paint with encaustic wax on digital canvas Work: 53 x 74 cm Frame: 56 x 77 cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 5, (Shit, Fucking Rotten), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 120 x 153cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 6, (don't blame anybody), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 130 x 108cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 7, (no one can tell what is coming next), 2015 oil paint with encaustic wax on digital canvas 68 x 92cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 8 (you know it can't be erased I), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 147 x 129.3cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 9, (you know it can't be erased) II, 2015 oil paint on encaustic wax and digital canvas 147 x 129.3cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 10, (You Bastard), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 157.5 x 118.8cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 11, (Tree with streetlight), 2015 278.5 x 130cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 12, ('Did you have a nightmare? No'), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas Work: 124 x 146.5 x 4 cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 13, (Just be honest) , 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 100 x 74cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 14, (clown dancing at a mirror) - set of 7, 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 38cm (each) (set of 7)

Jessica Webster

Sequence 15, 'Alright now watch me and do what I do', 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 35 x 60cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 16, ('The sound of a hole being ripped out of life'), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 109.3 x 136cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 17, (be smart), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 56 x 110cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 18, (six little dancers) -set of 6, 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 19.5 x 24.5cm (6) (each)

Jessica Webster

Sequence 19, (Paisley - they're worse...), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 64 x 83cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 22, 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 69.6 x 114.5cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 20, (stripper I), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 70cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 21, (stripper II), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 70cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 23, The Deathproof Series, 2015 oil paint with encaustic wax on digital canvas 33 x 49cm (40) (each)

Jessica Webster

Sequence 24, (How did this happen?), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 61 x 74.5cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 25, (basement & yellow stage), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 104 x 142cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 26, (memories that can never be erased), 2015 oil paint with encaustic wax on digital canvas 28 x 42cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 27, (I mean, the people who caused those memories), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 79 x 100cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 28, (girl falling in bedroom) - set of 5, 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 38cm (each) (set of five)

Jessica Webster

Sequence 29, (people don't matter for shit), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 64.5 x 83cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 30, (don't matter anymore), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 73.2 x 99.7cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 31, (they're worse than we are), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 64 x 84.5cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 32, (you can do 100 things right...), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 73.1 x 59cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 33 (tree through trellis...Why?), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 99.9 x 130cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 34, (Act II. Same time, same place'), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 32.5 x 50cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 35, (you have no idea), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 38cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 36, (why did you do that to me?), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 72.5 x 105.8cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 37, (man dancing & old mattress), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 38cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 38, (you keep looking in the wrong places), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 73 x 84cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 39, (It's okay - Pool I), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas Work: 49 x 69 cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 40, (lots of people have bad memories), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 32.5 x 48.5cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 41, (It's okay - Pool II), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 49 x 69cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 42, (you messed with the wrong guy, watch yourself), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 68.4 x 119.7cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 43, (cats' eyes shining), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 37.5 x 48.5cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 44 (Life is full of all kinds of shit), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas 72 x 99cm

Jessica Webster

Sequence 45, (you can't come this way sir), 2015 oil paint and encaustic wax on digital canvas Work: 56 x 86 cm Frame: 59 x 89 x 5 cm

Jessica Webster in collaboration with Niall Bingham

Sequence 46 (Deathproof Self Portrait), 2014 oil and wax over tapestry screenprint on cotton duck sections 314 x 174 cm

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Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
2 July – 13 August 2015

In “Murderer” Jessica Webster situates her painting practice as a dark interface between the performativity of narrative and the (dis)order of perception. By stepping into the murky world of cinema, and by using the word “Murderer” in its parenthesised form, Webster appears to be placing herself in the midst of dramatic action: torture, revenge and triumph. Yet the title of the exhibition also implies culpability.

Using a ‘found’ Korean action thriller by director Kim Jee Woon, entitled A Bittersweet Life (2005), Webster works with paint and encaustic wax on large and small-scale film stills (computer-generated screenshots), which have been printed onto synthetic and slippery digital canvas. In the film, the narrative plays out a well-known sequence of events: the misbegotten hero who undergoes creative levels of torture by his enemies and thus goes out to seek retribution and revenge. For Webster, the story seems to lie close to the collective consciousness of South African society.

Doubly, it resonates on a personal level: as a survivor of extreme violence Webster is interested in levels of account and accountability. Layered micro-narratives add to suggestive subtitles, causing uncertainty about the authenticity of the story. Meanwhile photojournalism, photographs taken by the artist and the familiar presence of nature in an urban setting provide a real and sinister backdrop to something despairingly playful.

Jessica Webster is a Jo’burg-based painter and writer. Born in the Free State in 1981, her painting was included on the group exhibition [Working Title] at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg in 2013. Previously she held a recognized debut exhibition titled I Knew You in this Dark at David Krut Projects in 2009. She has had two more solo shows in the interim: Original Skin, an exhibition of print works and paintings at David Krut Projects in 2011; and Mainly Benoni at Nirox Projects in 2012.

Webster obtained her BA degree in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town, where she was awarded the Judy Stein Painting Award in 2005. Since 2011 she is working to complete her PhD in philosophy and painting through Wits University, in the progress of which she has received the Mellon Wits Postgraduate Merit, and Oppenheimer awards. She has published a number of critical and creative essays.

Jessica Webster

Jessica Webster (b. 1981) was raised on the mines of the Free State and in Benoni. From a young age her proliferate painting and drawing practice was recognised as provoking the stranger qualities of the everyday: at sixteen, she sold her first major painting to the MTN Gallery in 1997. Webster entered Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2002 where she studied painting under established painters Malcolm Payne and Virginia MacKenny, attaining the Judy Stein Prize for painting upon graduation in 2005, and coming first in her class for academia and practice. In 2006, Webster survived an act of extreme violence in a shooting which left her paralysed from the waist down. Within six months of the shooting, she was being wheeled from hospital into Master’s supervision and mentorship with Penny Siopis at the University of the Witwatersrand, which resulted in her first solo show in 2009 at David Krut Projects in Johannesburg. 

The show met with great acclaim: the Johannesburg Art Gallery acquiring the centrepiece painting of the exhibition and the bulk of the work being sold to experienced collectors. Art critic Michael Smith described her work in Mail & Guardian (2009) as ‘light years ahead of the simply sensational’. At the same time, Webster embarked on an in-depth study of painting and philosophy for her Master’s degree that has resulted in the expected fulfilment of her PhD in philosophy and painting in 2017. The relationship between writing and practice has been an intensive aspect of Webster’s career thus far, which has gained her critical recognition in the form of awards from both the Oppenheimer and Mellon Foundations. In 2013, Webster was assigned as part of the Goodman Gallery’s stable of artists, upon which they have published a number of her creative writings in 2013 and held her first solo show with the gallery in 2015. Referring to the intensity of the affect from the show, art critic Sylvia McKeown writes that ‘Some objects are steeped in emotion that is so powerful that onlookers can sense the soul of the object’s creator…in everyday life we call it great art.’ This relationship between states of consciousness in painting and the power of life experience to affect form was continued in her show Wisteria at Goodman Gallery Cape Town in April 2017, a year which proved to be full of success for Webster ,who also curated the ‘Emerging Painter’s exhibition at the Turbine art Fair, and was awarded her her PhD in Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand with no corrections.