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Bio

Painter and printmaker Jenny Doležel was born in Auckland in 1964 of New Zealand / Czechoslovakian ancestry. She graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1987, and received her first QEII Arts Council Grant that year. In 1988 TVNZ's art programme Kaleidoscope made a documentary on Doležel's art (director Roger Price). The Fresno Art Museum in CA, USA made another documentary in 1993 (director Mark Alvis) to accompany her exhibition at the museum – this being her first exhibition in the USA. Doležel has taken up artist-in-residence programmes including the Rita Angus Cottage in Wellington, and the Goethe Institute in Berlin, Germany, as a cultural scholarship.


Jenny Doležel


Doležel has won 22 awards so far, the first being the Rosemary Grice Award in 1983. These awards included being the Paramount Award Winner in the 1996 Wallace Art Awards; winning the Overseas League Overseas Award in London the same year where her painting was given the highest honours of all the Commonwealth countries' entries; 2006 saw the winning of 1st Prize in the Parklane Art Awards as well as being the Supreme Winner in the 2006 Team McMillan BMW Bonnet Art Awards.

Doležel lectured in Printmaking and Painting at Elam School of Fine Arts during the mid-90's but left to take up other opportunities such as painting a mural in Sydney, and ongoing artistic projects.

Doležel's murals grace many city spaces, having received numerous public art commissions: "The City Dreaming", SkyCity, Auckland; "The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay" for 'The Boathouse', Sydney; and "The Circus of Life", Aotea Arts Centre, Auckland.

She exhibits widely throughout New Zealand and has participated in many international group exhibitions including Print Biennale and Triennales in Kracow, Indiana, Ljubljana, Lviv, Melbourne, Nuremberg, Tokyo, Valparaiso and Zaarendijk.

Her work is represented in collections in most public galleries in New Zealand, and also in Australia and Ukraine, as well in many private collections throughout the world.

Jenny Doležel lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand and Berlin, Germany.

Examples of Work

Please click on each thumbnail for more information and a larger image of the complete artwork.

  • 'Play-Pen'

    'The Invitation'

  • 'At the End of the Day'

    'Atlas of Emotion'

  • 'Charm School'

    'Creatures of Havoc'

  • 'The Interior'

    'Night Shift'

  • 'Then and Now'

    'Unsuitable Accommodation'

  • 'On Vacation - The Voyage'

    'Someone else with my fingerprints'

  • 'Kisses for You'

    'The Midnight Rendez-Vous'

  • 'The Circus of Life'

    'Mindscapes'

Artist's Statement

Jenny Doležel's work is an exploration of a psychological and physical territory that exists in the elusive realm between the known and the unknown, the real and the imagined.

From an early age Doležel began experimenting with everything from performance art, video to installation - dealing with ideas of nihilism and the transience of life. But she eventually developed a style in part inspired by Hieronymous Bosch's paintings, and the black-humoured cartoons found in newspapers her Czechoslovakian grandmother would send from Prague. These inspired her to make prints and paintings that reflected some of their other-worldly visionary quality, combined with references of the familiar, and contemporary urban experiences.

"I want my life to be embedded in my work, crushed into my painting, like a pressed car. If it's not, my work is just some stuff. When I'm away from it, I'm crippled. Without my relationship to what may seem like these inanimate objects, I am just an indulgent misfit. If the spirit of being isn't present in the face of this work, it should be destroyed because it's meaningless. I am not making some things, I am making a synonym for the truth with all it's falsehoods.." wrote Julian Schnabel in his Madrid notebooks, and sentiments very much realised by Doležel.

Doležel's work is a conversation about ways of seeing – the realm of perception. In her work, the carnival became motif and the stage acted as a metaphor for life - vehicles that developed the work into an exploration of illusion/reality within the human condition. Doležel's figures/creatures take the role of conductors between what we show on the outside and what we feel within. Within their theatrical set-up, the figures perform to the audience, inviting in and taunting the viewer as well as providing a reflection on aspects of themselves. As in all ‘theatrical productions’, the truth and tension of the work usually lies in it's subtext, and the characters act as staged conduits to bring this dialogue into viewing. The spatial in-betweenness of the characters is very important in creating the tensions within the work - taking the narratives into the realm of the psychological parody of reality.

Much of Doležel's works are informed both conceptually and technically, by her experience of working in mezzotint, an intaglio printmaking process where the image is pulled (burnished) out of the darkness (of the rich velvety rocked up ground before being printed), and therefore deals directly with the theatre of revealing and concealing.

The stories she tells are universal stories, not limited to one place at all, with the motifs she uses based on the co-presence of memory and fiction, fantasy and dream. She sees her finished paintings as stills from a film.

It's important to Doležel that her works are not read too literally. She believes the meanings that arise from the images are similar to meanings of images in dreams. There are limitless interpretations and stories about a dream with no one interpretation being the true one. Her work gives opportunity to navigate the meaning and sense of our perceived realities and their multitude of disguise.

the artist in her studio

Other Writing

'This Thing in the Mirror' - Self Portraits by New Zealand Artists, Claire Finlayson (2004)

Download a pdf version (3.47 MB): 'This Thing in the Mirror' - Self Portraits by New Zealand Artists, Claire Finlayson (2004)

'New Zealand Painting' - A Concise History, Michael Dunn (2004)

Download a pdf version 3.95 MB): 'New Zealand Painting' - A Concise History, Michael Dunn (2004)

'Playing with Display - Jenny Doležel's Art of Spectacle', Linda Tyler, Art New Zealand no 65 (1993)

Download a pdf version 4.11 MB): 'Playing with Display - Jenny Doležel's Art of Spectacle', Linda Tyler, Art New Zealand no 65 (1993)

'Jenny Doležel - Artist', Hamish Keith, Fashion Quarterly (Autumn 1991)

Download a pdf version (6.00 MB): 'Jenny Doležel - Artist', Hamish Keith, Fashion Quarterly (Autumn 1991)

'Contemporary Painting in New Zealand', Michael Dunn (1996)

Download a pdf version (929 KB): 'Contemporary Painting in New Zealand', Michael Dunn (1996)

'Dream World', Patrick Smith, Signature (June 1993)

Download a pdf version (1.97 MB): 'Dream World', Patrick Smith, Signature (June 1993)

Arts Guide, New Zealand Herald (May 10, 2006)

Download a pdf version (901 KB): Arts Guide, New Zealand Herald (May 10, 2006)

'No fear of No. 13', Pat Baskett, New Zealand Herald (Sept 30, 1996)

Download a pdf version (8.11 MB): 'No fear of No. 13', Pat Baskett, New Zealand Herald (Sept 30, 1996)

Contact Jenny Doležel

Write: Jenny Doležel, PO Box 105447, Auckland City, Auckland 1143, New Zealand.

Email:

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