Thursday, 17 February 2011

Maz Jackson New Egg Tempera Work at Wymondham Arts Centre


Maz Jackson, international Norfolk artist, is staging a solo exhibition of new work, featuring her surreal egg tempera gilded paintings and sculptures and woodcut prints, to launch Wymondham Arts Centre’s third season at Becket’s Chapel. The exhibition runs from Saturday, March 19 to Sunday, April 10; open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12noon to 5pm, free entry, http://www.wymondhamarts.com/.

Maz Jackson was born in Norfolk, brought up in New Buckenham and lives and works in East Harling. She has been a full-time professional artist all her working life. Her paintings are in permanent gallery collections in Beijing, Bologna, Florence and Detroit's Museum of New Art. As well as Wymondham Arts Centre, her 2011 schedule includes exhibitions in Barcelona, Bologna and a solo show at the Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence. She will also be representing the UK for the fifth time at the Florence Biennale in December. The Wymondham exhibition will be an early opportunity to buy examples of her new work.

Maz Jackson said: “I am very pleased that Wymondham Art’s Centre invited me to launch its 2011 season. It is wonderful to be revealing my new work so close to home, as I draw much of my inspiration from the Norfolk countryside. It is also heart-warming to get recognition in my own ‘backyard’.”

Maz’s egg tempera work is intensely colourful and full of spiritual imagery. Doves flying with mystical hooded eyes, along with female and male symbols and the swirling waters of life, encourage the viewer to consider the balance in their own lives as well as the world that we inhabit.

“My mother came from Ireland and my father was a New Buckenham grocer,” explained Maz Jackson. “I have always loved colour and feel that this comes from my Irish background, as well as being intrigued by the colourful international goods that were sold in my father’s shop and being inspired by the beautiful Norfolk countryside.”

“Egg tempera is an ancient method,” continued Maz Jackson, “going back as far as cave paintings and championed by early Christian icon painters. Painting for them was an intense religious experience. I feel that my own work is a similar spiritual journey. I am very respectful of the pure pigments that I use from all over the world, as well as the Norfolk oak that is the ‘canvas’ for my paintings.”

Cennino d’Andrea Cennini (c. 1370 to c. 1440) wrote The Craftsman’s Handbook in 1437, which included the method for egg tempera painting and gilding, still used by artists today. Egg yoke is mixed with powdered pigment that has been ground in distilled water.

“A childhood of visiting the region’s churches and cathedrals with my father introduced me to these traditions, that also influence my sense of colour and technique,” added Maz Jackson. “It is therefore apt that this exhibition takes place in Becket's Chapel, where these methods would have been employed by medieval craftsmen.”

In addition to using Norfolk oak, Maz also buys her eggs locally from Molly’s Free Range Eggs in nearby Quidenham. All other materials including pigments and specialist brushes are purchased from Norwich Art Supplies in St. Benedicts.

Professor Arthur Lucas, Chairman of Wymondham Arts Centre’s steering group, said: “We are very excited that Maz Jackson is staging the first exhibition of Wymondham Arts Centre’s third season. She has a very busy international schedule, and we are fortunate that March is a time that suits her. Our visitors will have an early opportunity to see new work prepared for her 2011 shows. We will be able to compare her approaches to imagery in different media, because as well as the classic techniques of egg tempera deployed in her distinctive way, she is including hand-pulled woodcut prints, drawings and watercolours.”

Wymondham Arts Centre is a project run by Wymondham Arts Forum. It provides a varied programme of exhibitions and events in Becket's Chapel, Church Street, Wymondham NR18 0PH, from late March to the end of November. William D’Albini, grandson of the founder of nearby Wymondham Abbey, built Becket’s Chapel in 1174 as a chantry.