The architecture of art: Jasmine Mansbridge
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”.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”.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.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.”
You might also enjoy…