DAZZLE + DISRUPT: Jeannie Driver

Jeannie Driver is a contemporary visual artist, living and working in Britain. Driver’s post minimalist works utilise materials imbued with processes and metaphorical references to present works as drawing, installation, sculpture, and film. Her pallet is dominated by paper, specifically waste-paper documents. Both out of a sense of responsibility to materials and with an interest in their symbolic value and embedded histories. Process is a core element in her practice and involves acts of destruction, repetition, re-processing and re-enactment as a mode of encounter that gives new form whilst referencing the cyclical nature of materiality.

Driver’s work relates to perception, questioning viewing, and with thoughts of how the viewer experiences the work, in relation to the body. There is always a question of experience for Driver, and how the audience moves around and experiences the work.

“On being invited to make work in response to Dazzle, I was intrigued, and a little amused that the perceived role of the audience for the dazzle ships was the ‘enemy’. The role of the artwork being to mascaraed, camouflage, to deceive, not to give truth or answers, but present questions and uncertainty.

 I started thinking about this tension between the viewed and the viewer and the physical space in between these two positions. The initial viewing experience for the intended audience would be through a periscope, presenting an individual viewing experience, a framed view of focused and unfocused vision, where peripheral vision is disconnected. I am also intrigued by the relationship between the dazzled ship in its original intention, and the viewer that both would be in flux, in movement, but not necessarily in alignment.

Another element that resonates with me is the development in approaches to scale. Early camouflage designs, would loose their effectiveness in masking the shape of the ship from a distance, and therefore the concept of Dazzle developed into much larger, bolder designs to disrupt the form of the ship. This relationship between scale and viewing distance, relates to perception and position, and is something that I have aimed to bring into the work for this exhibition. I’m particularly drawn to the Dazzle designs where the artwork utilises illusion in its design suggesting 3D, such as USS Nebraska (1904). This illusion of space, together with ideas of false horizons have underpinned my work for this exhibition.”

Dazzle + Disrupt exhibition images by Julian Winslow. All Dazzle + Disrupt commissioned artworks are copyright by the artists 2021.

In creating new work for Dazzle + Disrupt, Driver has combined these concerns to create an installation that flows from the walls into the space, to disorientate the audience inside a drawing. She considers the ‘space’ of the gallery as material, integral to the artwork and investigates the relationship between audience and artwork. Installations have been developed in response to Dazzle concepts and design with a focus on scale and perception. Driver’s urge towards accessibility and engagement has influenced her approach throughout her practice, in both the public realm and in the gallery.

Born in London, Driver studied Fine Art at the University of Portsmouth, obtaining a 1st Class BA Hons Degree, and a distinction MA by Project in 2000. On graduation Driver focused on public art and socially engaged practice and shifted to a studio based practice in 2007. Her studio is currently based at Art Space, Portsmouth.