My work explores migration through the recording of objects and places. Both carry meanings and memories that we attach to each as we travel through time and space. I investigate how they hold meanings and in what ways they connect the owner to sacred memories and emotions.
To document my memory, which anchors experiences, relationships, thoughts and emotions I focus on objects or places that are significant in telling about my own or others histories. The visual absence of the owner allows me to focus on the detail and importance of an object or place. This idea is represented in paintings and drawings that appear uninhabited, none the less they carry deep meanings, and reconnect to those who were present at particular times.
Using oil paint or pastels and graphite my visual language records stories or thoughts, that I compare to words in a diary. I currently paint with oils on old silk saris that I rescue from charity shops or am given. By pulling them tightly over wooden stretchers I subvert the traditional notion of the blank canvas. The colourful and patterned fabrics bring their own history to each work while I focus my attention on the distinctive objects I observe over time. By documenting every detail while letting the background remain untouched, the objects appear to float in space. This signifies the role of the object in holding the memory and presence of the person attached.
Recent paintings record small souvenirs from around the world that bring diverse cultures into close proximity in my work. A wooden Indian God, Lord Juggernath, might be placed next to a decorated egg from Romania, or a shiny Islamic heart shaped car icon might be portrayed next to a stone painted with Bhudda’s eyes. Each icon is a vessel for memories of the place it came from, the time and people in my life when I bought it, and a possible significance for anyone else who recognises it.
In my most current work I expand my research by exploring the personal significance and connection my family, friends or neighbours have to objects they keep safe. I asked each person to give me a treasured object; included are the lid of an old box showing a family crest, a set of the playground game Jacks, a very thread bare teddy and an old tie. Painting these items in my compositions means I am the observer of objects that were selected by others and hold no personal connection to me for the first time. Previously, I selected objects that carry meanings for me, and perhaps connect with the viewer’s history. I now challenge my research by being disconnected from the personal value of these items to investigate what makes an object significant. I see these paintings as a series of still lives, a catalogue of personal souvenirs that allow me to experience other’s lives and history.
A large painting entitled ‘Twenty-three souvenirs’ of this series is currently on view at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019, open throughout August.
2018-19 Panel member for Hostry Gallery, Norwich Cathedral
In Good Faith at St Mary Abbot’s church
was the second year of exhibiting during interfaith week. Thank you to everyone who made it possible and who came. Newest work included paintings on Tibetan prayer flags.
Following the successful exhibition It’s Better When We Listen, I’ve been honoured by the invitation to join the selection panel for the Hostry Selection Committee.
It's Better When We Listen, an exciting solo exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints.
at The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, from Feb 20th - Mar 11th 2018. Lots of new paintings about empathy for diverse religions through still lives of religious souvenirs.
Juliet Goodden is a painter who is exploring the sacred landscape of the UK. Her ambition is to familiarise herself and others with contemporary religious life.
Not the lofty, distant, even divisive worlds of the past, but the people and ideas that rub shoulders in the high streets of Harrow, Birmingham, Derby . . . and now Norwich.
Akin to an anthropologist she works in situ - recording what she sees, what is going on inside a mosque, a temple or a church - sitting at the back, or in the first pew, drawing board on lap. Outdoors she can paint from the shelter of her car - whose interior and mirrors play their part in her compositions. Goodden emphatically draws and paints from life.
As an artist she processes the experience into visual form, sometimes merging the view, so that the exterior of a church from one day’s painting in Derby, will be joined by reflections of worshippers leaving their mosque, on another, in the car’s rearview mirror. Her painting Kedleston Road from a Derby series, won a place at the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize 2016 in Liverpool.
In her latest show - It’s Better When We Listen - at Norwich Cathedral Hostry, Goodden’s paintings and drawings take a new turn, though still in the same territory.
This body of work focuses on the personal, domestic scale of religious objects, from the celebrated and iconic to the cheap, almost tacky souvenirs of different faiths that can equally connect and return the owner to a spiritual step, a pilgrimage, a special service, a moment of truth; or simply a happy time with family which takes on more significance later.
The paintings, in oil on sari fabric that Goodden finds in charity shops, place small religious sculptures and ritual paraphenalia in surprising conversation with each other. Norwich Cathedral also appears in several of the works, like a dream arising from a brilliant field of green silk sari, or tie-dyed purple, in the company of a Muslim incantation, Hannukah candles or a sacred heart necklace.
Goodden is also showing her collection of religious souvenirs, from which the paintings were created. There are small stone cows from India, a statue of Buddha from the Norwich Buddhist Centre, a snow globe of Norwich Cathedral and Native American Kachina dolls, among others.
The exhibition's title, Goodden says, occurred to her after attending services in many different places of worship and hearing extremely similar prayers and advice. “Rather than make assumptions about each other, we gain a better understanding when we listen to each other.”
Housewarming is the first exhibition at new Acava studios in the old Winsor and Newton building in Harrow and Wealdstone. 14 artists including me.
PV 28th Nov 2017 6 - 9 all welcome and on until December 6th.
Interfaith Week at the beautiful Derby Multi Faith Centre at Derby University
13th Nov 2017 showing 12 paintings of diverse prayer spaces in Derby.
The Talking Lamp I have paintings in this exciting exhibition, curated by Laurence Owen
at Kennington Residency, 243-245 Kennington Lane SE11 5QU
PV Oct 21st 2016 6pm - late
Otherwise by appointment until 30th October