Doha resident Jennifer Pinder’s work hangs in boardrooms, living rooms and other locations in her native Australia, as well as the US and UK. Now she is about to embark on her first exhibition here, having been inspired by the blend of modern and Islamic architecture and their clean, ‘organic’ lines.
Jennifer’s work is oil on canvas and involves using texture, patterns and colour. Seeing her paintings from a distance gives a different perspective than seeing them up close. ‘I want my paintings to be constantly surprising. I want them to serve that purpose other than be just a pretty picture on the wall. They need to be discussed, talked about,’ she says in her West Bay studio on the first floor of her sun- drenched villa.
‘I look for balance when I design for someone. For example, Qatar pretty much has one colour pallet: beige, browns, dusty pinks and reds, then in complete contrast the most magnificent blue sky and the most incredible orange sunsets. It’s the energy in these orange and blues that I seek to introduce inside. The colours I use in my work provide a stark contrast to the desert that surrounds Doha,’ she says.
Pinder’s medium is oil on canvas, the bigger the canvas the better. ‘I prefer using a bigger canvas,’ she adds. ‘The impact is greater. I paint for the senses. For me it’s not about the story, it’s about the feeling you get when you look at it. How it draws you in, makes you look at it from another angle. How you react to a piece of art is as important as the story.’
Pinder, who had a successful career in the fashion industry in Australia before she took up painting full time, moved to Doha with her family 12 months ago. She is a relative late bloomer when it comes to the art world. ‘About 12 years ago I was living in Noosa Heads on Australia’s east coast and I needed a painting on my wall. I asked an artist girlfriend if I could buy a frame from her so I could stretch a piece of orange Thai silk, because I wanted an orange colour block. She said “I’ll give you the frame, but I want you to paint it”. Something clicked and I must have been ready, because it was the first time I had put oil to canvas since high school,’ she says.
‘My third painting was a paid commission, and within six months demand required full time dedication. A year later I was asked to paint for one of the world’s top island resorts, Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef. This opened the door for international clients, and soon pieces were sent to the US and Asia.’
Pinder’s current frame of artistic mind sees her ‘spike’ series of paintings take form. These are three dimensional dots of paint on the canvas, in intricate circles within circles. Up close you can see the peaks and valleys formed; from a distance the swirling circles play tricks on the eye. ‘My “spike” paintings are very tactile,’ she says. ‘I dare you not to want to touch them. Most people put their hand out and touch the ridges.’
She says the ‘spikes’ and the natural flow of them are influenced by Islamic architecture, and art she sees in Doha and the region. ‘This Spike series has definitely been influenced by Arab architecture. The rhythm of the patterns on the mosque walls and windows, how they move into one and branch out again, but very clean and precise,’ Pinder explains. ‘I think the connection and direction I’m taking is quite clear and exciting, certainly I feel I’m mixing the pot as opposed to stirring the pot between cultures. I want to explore contemporary art with respect to Islamic beliefs and how these intersect.’
Opening on January 26 to mark Australia’s national day, Pinder is joining forces with her photographer friend and fellow Australian Kimberley Sheedy for an exhibition. ‘The show, Unique Perspectives, features two radically different takes on the worlds of two Australian women living in Doha and how we live, work and travel,’ Pinder explains. The exhibition sees eight major works by Pinder displayed and a series of photographs from Sheedy, which she shot on her many visits to Ethiopia.
Unique Perspectives runs from January 26-February 5 at the Grand Hyatt Doha (4448 1234)