March 2024

Jaeger Cube

Renee JaegerRenee JaegerRenee JaegerRenee JaegerRenee JaegerText: Melissa Loughnan Images: Renee Jaeger

Renee Jaeger is a recent graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. Her work combines sculptural and drawing practices inspired by notions of domesticity, the handmade and adolescence. Found objects, such as basketballs, are often used in the production of two-dimensional works, through the utilisation of the surface as a tool for mark-making. They are then transformed into art objects in themselves through gentle subversion, such as painting them white. Another layer of domesticity may be bestowed upon an object through its display, for example, in a macramé plant hanger, or juxtaposition with a replicated object made against its intended function, including an inoperable plastic radio shell. Renee’s practice also extends to involve the production of delicate, highly detailed watercolour grids. At once fluid and rigid, these paper-based works are layered to three-dimensional effect, the planar surface often appearing as though rivets or studs.

Melissa Loughnan caught up with Renee in her studio on a hot day in February.

Melissa Loughnan: Could you describe your painting technique and its methodological processes?

Renee Jaeger: When making work I always begin with drawing, which is an essential part of my practice. I use ink a lot in my work, but I will always sketch out ideas first. Even when using video, I see drawing as an important element. Writing is also a useful tool.

ML: What are the ideas and inspirations behind your work?

RJ: Patterning and colour spectrums can relate to any given idea. I enjoy the relationships that can be formed between an object/texture/video against a static image. I like the potential to turn objects into drawings and vice versa. I’m inspired by anything from basketball to black metal and surfing, but I also love textiles and ceramic work too.

ML: Can you describe the relationship between the 2D and 3D works in your VCA graduate exhibition last year, and the thought process behind their correlation?

RJ: I’ve always liked walking into a friend’s bedroom for the first time. In teenage days they mainly consisted of posters, a TV, a bed, music and other assorted junk. As adults we try to clean up that image. This work was really a ‘cleaned up’ version of that. The kind of tokens of things I love(d): surfing, metal and basketball. I wanted to include objects in my installation, but I also wanted them to appear as a drawing.

ML: Do you take your inspiration from any particular artists, contemporary or historical?

RJ: It sounds odd to reference him, but I love the way Henri Matisse paints flat still lifes, yet he manages to give them depth. Raymond Pettibon has such a great way of weaving his love of books into solid drawings. Mike Kelley has a knack for using personal experience to make really amazing installations and Tauba Auerbach – she had these huge drawings, paintings and objects installed at a Deitch Projects show in New York in 2009 that included a live performance.

ML: What are you working on at the moment, can you describe your next body of work?

RJ: My focus at the moment is to include more handmade elements within my art practice. Drawing, in essence, is a hand-produced practice. By using the hand in fashioning objects, I am extending a drawing practice into the spatial environment. I’m beginning to explore fabrics and ceramics as a way of extending and illustrating domestic elements, but will continue using drawings in relation to these objects to highlight this relationship as I see it.

Renee Jaeger

Next story: Duo What You Will – Miguel & Luke