Jenna Packer is a graduate from the Ilam School of Fine Arts and is a painter, printmaker and illustrator and has exhibited in New Zealand, France and Japan.
Packer is inspired by stories often drawn from myth or her own imagining. She paints delicately detailed works that appear at first to be historical observations, but upon closer inspection there emerges an alternative colonial history that contains mystery, humour, contradiction and wonderful elements of farce. Although the works have the authority of very particular locations and are strikingly familiar, they are also an amalgam of disparate events and in that way become increasingly strange and dream-like.
The varying passages of time has always been an intrinsic element in Packer’s paintings and in this new body of work the layered narratives reach into depression-era NZ – we view desolate wharves, ruined houses, steam trains, waka and wayward balloons.
Stories are being told in scenes and vignettes within each work. Packer is now firmly established as a considerable painter of social narratives with a unique stylistic voice and vision.
Packer states, ‘For me, making historical fiction, which is how I see these works, out of New Zealand history is only possible if on the one hand I attempt to use as a starting point, research and metrial that I believe to be ‘truthful according to it’s author’, while acknowledging the subjectivity of the accounts, the evidence, the researchers personal “take”.