We have to confess a great liking for Janie's water colours. Their pastel washes lull one to serenity; the enormous bucolic images and hazy summer vistas are swirling and sympathetic planes through which one could contentedly collapse.
However, it's a brave man who mentions water colours to Janie in the current day, and her first inclusion on this site was the digitally evolved YIKES!! collection. Another of her projects based on fruit has long been promised, but appears to have destructed in its own philosophy.
What particularly attracts us at monalaughs.com to Janie Trollope's current collection – BICKER BY GOD – is that firebrand anti-elitism which one suspects withdrew Janie from the gallery scene. And as such there are two aspects to the collection which particularly appeal. Initially, the series is composed of nothing more than handwriting (albeit in digital format). That's a form of expression, a skill, common to virtually every one of us. It requires no agility with brushes nor affinity with paint; the creations extrapolate from the doodles indulged in by anyone with a scrap of paper and a Biro. Janie's question to herself might have been: can I make something visually interesting and creatively valid out of something we all habitually do?
But the other stamp of her anti-elitism purge is the subject matter of these curlicued and vividly coloured scriblings. Each is just the sort of domestic cajoling, remonstration, insult, etc., which take place behind the closed doors of every home. They are all everyday phrases, banal and sometimes vulgar, which punctuate our lives. One can easily understand Janie's words in relation to the collection, when she described it as “graffiti of the air”.
That said, on initially viewing each image one is confused. The origin of the markings as phrases or even words and letters is not clear. They appear merely as pattern, slashes of colour; at most the words of a foreign language or ancient calligraphy. But study each and the letters reveal themselves, the words surface, and thus – although the works are individually titled – it becomes a game to trace the phrase, to pick out a needed comma here, a word backwards there.
More from ourselves is not required on the subject of BICKER BY GOD – fifteen of the images are here for the viewer to decipher and to judge as exhibits drawn from our common lives.
It is a delight to host Janie Trollope with this project.
Mike Connor & Toby Dunn for monalaughs.com