Jill McIntosh’s paintings are chemical dispersals of oil acting against sticky water. When combined with the suspension of solid paint particles they create a fluidly chromatic surface. The paint in the water is active through its reaction causing saturation and solubility. The surface Jill works on is a single pool of water. It is formless. It operates on the horizontal. The bath form of the human body that lingers in the works is a vacant human echo, not the subject. The process of making amorphous, disassemblies of paint is her intention. When the paint disperses into the water, the viscous, sticky nature spreads the paint both towards and against itself; it records this movement on its surface whilst resisting form. McIntosh draws through the paint, directing the flowing colour. The painted surface works against verticality then it is shifted to this plane, becoming dislocated, incoherent and disunited.
Applying paint to the horizontal surface of water to form an image, and then curing this into a skin and shifting it onto a sheet, is the process Jill has used in these paintings. She has developed this from her earlier training as a printmaker where the block or plate was placed on the press bed and the image was separated from the source. In these works she looks at the behaviour of the paint and how it is altered. Her interest is in the autonomous way that the chemical reactions of oil and water connect to form relationships. This all happens before shifting the skin onto a vertical plane. Jill is ‘interested in the ideas of dispersion, suspension, distress and formlessness’.
By referring to the surface of the earth and the process of perpetual alteration in the natural world, Jill has created for this exhibition a series of chalk pastel drawings. She has drawn parallels between the ideas in the paintings by depicting the random events of weather patterns and geological movement. Jill is fascinated by the way we balance our logical understanding of the world around us with the unpredictable way events in our environment occur.
McIntosh has been closely involved in New Zealand arts, from curating at Wellington City Art Gallery to setting up Printworkshop at the Wellington Arts Centre. She has shown regularly at Bowen Gallery and is in the National Art Collection at Te Papa as well as other important collections.