Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Jack Trolove: Bodies like story-holders

Mon 2 May 2016 In: People View at Wayback View at NDHA

Jack Trolove’s first love was painting, but at one point he jumped ship, undertaking an MFA working in installation and moving image in order to articulate his ideas in a way “where narratives could move,” he says. “It’s irrational why I’ve been drawn back into painting, but that’s part of the pull.” His beautiful large scale paintings will line the walls of Whitespace Gallery in Auckland from tomorrow onwards, work that explores relationships between embodiment and liminal spaces. Intergenerational memory and other states of in-between. In particular Jack’s latest body of work is inspired by the energetic and spiritual nature of gender transition. “What draws me to the medium of paint is probably my love of history as a continuous experience – painting is such an ancient thing. It’s slow and frustrating and I think I like that. “People have been making marks to tell stories for over 40,000 years. It’s a kind of instinct. The technology of painting hasn’t changed much. Pigment and Oil. Like a potion. Some colours are made synthetically now but they’re still pretty much minerals and oils. It’s like a really old language. Mark making. Story telling. Feeling-finding.” Jack says he could never ‘draw’ as a kid but was obsessed with colour “I remember always watching nature, and on some level I think it was because it was proof of the queerness of creation – a big open sky full of wild hot pink and fluorescent orange unapologetically going off together, then getting bruised out by a purple grey yellow storm. “That was validating and invigorating somehow.” Jack says he doesn’t view his work as portraits, although they stem from an image of a person. “I like the idea that they’re portraits of an energy or experience rather than a particular person. Bodies like story-holders,” he says. “When I’m making them, I usually start with an image – a photo of myself or someone I know – just to get some scaffolding and some ideas about temperature I want. Then I get rid of the image and follow the painting. It becomes about movement and what the marks are saying. It’s a dance trying to hold enough form to feel a presence in the painting but to break it down enough, loose it enough to let it feel alive. I always try to suggest a form, but not describe it. That way the work meets me or the viewer half way which I think helps it activate as a kind of conversation. “I used to build with slow thin layers of paint, back then the paintings could take months to make. The way I’m working now though is really fast. The big ones are like marathons. Sometimes a 15 hour stint. They need to be worked while they’re still wet with the way I’m using the paint. If the paint gets tacky I can’t slide it into other colours – so I have about a 2 day window. For every painting that works, there are usually five or six that don’t. So it's kind of fast but kind of slow.” His personal connection to the ideas at play in his work come from an interest in history and intergenerational memory primarily “and times/bodies/places that feel magic to me,” he says. “Times like dawn and dusk. All those in-between-spaces. “Also gender and the fluidity of that. With this current show, I was thinking about the energetic and spiritual nature of gender transition - as a kind of ecdysis (a term usually used to refer to skin shedding in reptiles). “Popular discourse around transgender people often focuses on assumed aspects of our physical experience, and tends to either mock or fetishise our bodies based on how we appear to others. With this work I’m trying to shift the gaze off just our physicality (but by going ‘through’ the skin, and the skin of the paint), hopefully inviting a wider reflection about the otherworldly nature of transitions.” Jack’s new body of work opens at Whitespace tomorrow evening for a preview from 5pm. The exhibition runs from May 4 - May 28.     - 2nd May 2016


First published: Monday, 2nd May 2016 - 6:26pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us