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The architecture of art: Jasmine Mansbridge

Posted on July 19, 2015 | 1 comment

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Hamilton artist Jasmine Mansbridge preparing work for an exhibition in New York in 2013. Picture: Danielle Thomas.

Words by Louise North

Jasmine Mansbridge’s colourful paintings of geometric, architecturally inspired structures with doors, stairways, windows and empty spaces are so much more than just buildings: they are metaphors for life experiences.

“When I paint I am exploring how I feel about life and the things that happen to me, and those around me.

“Human experience, either my own or other peoples, is to me, an endless source of fascination,” the 36-year-old Hamilton artist told Bluestone.

Jasmine’s seventh solo exhibition will be launched at Hamilton Art Gallery at the end of this month (July 31) with 14 paintings, including two large 2m x 2m works, a 3D installation, a mural in the foyer between the library and gallery and a wall of 24 ‘three point portals’.

It’s been a long seven months in the making for the “full time mother of five trying to be a full time artist”.

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“I built my world around you”. One of Jasmine’s works currently on show at Maddens Lawyers, Warrnambool. Image supplied by Jasmine Mansbridge.

Some of the works revisit themes from her early career, like ‘love’.

At one time, those motifs of love might have been simple red hearts, but with life experience comes more complexity and one of the works titled “Two Hearts, One Home” depicts love as two parts of a whole structure.

“For me I simply represent what goes on in my life. Art is storytelling and home is a metaphor for the human experience,” Jasmine said.

In another piece, “Like a Moth to a flame”, a wavy shape threads through rooms in the house, asking the viewer to contemplate “that nothing is guaranteed, everything might change”.

The ever-present house motif reflects Jasmine’s desire for stability after an childhood peppered with moving, although she says that it was still a “wonderful, interesting, adventure filled experience”.

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“The Space Between Heart and Head” (Purchased for Private Collection). Image supplied by Jasmine Mansbridge.

Art has been Jasmine’s life since she became “a pregnant teenager with not a lot of friends” in the small outback Northern Territory town of Katherine.

She got herself a job mixing paints for indigenous artists at a local art gallery and learned from those artists that art required absolute dedication.

Nearly every day since she has painted.

“Those indigenous artists would work all day, every day on a painting, sometimes for two weeks until the work was done. I learnt from them about getting into the zone and the work taking priority,” Jasmine said.

And while it is not easy to paint for extended periods when you have five children aged between 18 and 8 months, Jasmine has found a balance that suits her.

“I’m always working around the children, cooking dinner, going to the park, and it’s a good balance for me,” she said.

Jasmine often “escapes” into the studio late at night when the rest of the family are in bed and she can be focused.

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The mural that Jasmine recently painted at her home. Picture : Danielle Thomas, One Day Collective.

Given the ongoing balance between art and parenting, Jasmine’s studio is purposely at the centre of the art deco home that she and husband Shaun bought four years ago, a street back from Hamilton’s main street.

The studio is the former formal dining room that can be cut off from the rest of the house by glass doors yet remains central to the home’s activities and its busy occupants.

When Jasmine paints, the bright colours of the Norther Territory remain imbued in much of her work, yet rural Hamilton has provided new inspiration, like her interest in mural painting.

“Murals have helped me be less of a procrastinator and more brave with my work. You just have to get murals done, there is not time to overthink it,” she said.

Jasmine has painted one mural in the laneway off the Roxburgh House café, one on a wall in her own home and in a few months will crowd-fund another mural as a collaboration at at 1 Hughes St, an old warehouse with a huge brick wall just waiting for some colour.

“I’m not attracted to outcomes anymore (ie. will the work sell?), and I don’t mind taking a risk. I do better work, if I am free about my art.”

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The work, “Two hearts, one home”, which will be part of Jasmine’s upcoming solo show at Hamilton Art Gallery. Image supplied by Jasmine Mansbridge.

You can see a selection of Jasmine’s work on display at Maddens Lawyers, Koroit St, Warrnambool until Wednesday (22nd July) as part of The F Project Artbank program. The solo exhibition at Hamilton Art Gallery runs from July 31-Oct 25. Visit Jasmine’s website here.

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1 Comment

  1. Great article, Louise! Jasmine’s work (artwork and blog writing) has interested me for some time now and I’m really looking forward to her Hamilton show!

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