Growing up with both parents as artists - Marian Drew and Bruce Reynolds, it is little wonder that Genevieve Reynolds turned to the paintbrush. That was after a detour through photography and sculpture though, as part of her Fine Art degree in Brisbane where she grew up. But after completing her studies, Genevieve felt the lure of the canvas - and Sydney, where she is now based - and has been busy painting and working towards various exhibitions ever since. At the start of the year she was also awarded a grant from the Australia Council which has enabled her to dedicate more time to her art practice. Genevieve’s latest exhibition opens tonight at the Wellington Street Projects in Chippendale and runs until October 19. Then preparation begins towards her first show in New York.
Which five words best describe you? Curious, messy, earnest, excitable, dorky.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My parents are artists so I've been in it since I could walk. I remember being constantly bribed into visiting galleries with the promise of cake at the end. Not much has changed, except now my enthusiasm is aligned with theirs. Aside from a few dips into philosophy and ornithology, it wasn't really a question of what I'd do, just how I'd do it. I experimented with photography, video, sculpture and curating before I found out I was really enthusiastic about paint. After I completed art school in Brisbane, I moved to Sydney, where I now live and work. I’m still active in both cities’ art scenes.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? It’s not a lesson so much as a constant reminder! Consider other people's opinions carefully but ultimately, trust your own judgement. Otherwise, what’s the point of your practice?
What’s your proudest career achievement? The next show. And then the next, and then the next. I guess I’m always focused on the future, and ensuing projects. Of course, previous exhibitions and grants have given me the confidence to keep making things, but once something has finished, it’s basically dead to me. Fond memories, though! One such great experience was exhibiting at the Sydney Contemporary art fair last year, with my multifarious art collective, Diagram. It was a performance-based work, with lots of audience engagement. We were completely exhausted by the fourth day, but we met literally hundreds of people and had tons of fun.
This week, I’m preparing for my solo exhibition at Wellington Street Projects in Chippendale, Sydney, which opens October 15, 6pm. Then early next year I’m looking forward to my first exhibition in New York.
What’s been your best decision? Moving to Sydney - way out of my comfort zone. It’s brought me lots of new opportunities and introduced me to a whole new community of artists, who are simultaneously genuine, supportive of each other and ambitious. All good things.
Who inspires you? My mother, father and sister. My partner Belem Lett, who is also a painter. A few close friends. We all encourage each other’s practices and are incessantly, sometimes irritatingly, offering impromptu critical feedback. It’s great to have people I trust and respect to bounce ideas and aesthetics off. Their work always seeps into my own in some ways, as mine does into theirs.
What are you passionate about? Abstraction, food, feminism, the late Baroque, birds, learning.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Konrad Lorenz, a zoologist and animal behaviourist who did early work on animal emotions, imprinting in baby birds and aggression. He wrote a few great 1950s pop-science books detailing his menagerie of kept animals. He’s great.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? Living solely off my art practice, and having a property in the country. And pets. Many pets.
What are you reading? Voltaire in love by Nancy Mitford. It's a biography that describes the politics of the aristocracy in 18th century France. What a wild romp.
images courtesy of genevieve reynolds