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The Pool in the Garden in Chaos

1976, oil on canvas, 48 x 48", by Jenny Badger Sultan

Oil painting, 'The Pool in the Garden in Chaos', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

This was the first painting in which I combined clear, precise work with decalcomania. I had always loved the Egyptian way of representing space, showing things in their most characteristic view--looking down at a pool and then showing the trees around the pool folded out, in a frontal view. So this became the center of the painting, with women in four garden spaces around it. Water flows out of the pool through channels, into the chaotic outer edges, where I pressed on paint to get a textured ground and then discovered whatever images showed up in the accidents of the paint.

Detail of acrylic painting, 'The Child's Room', by Jenny Badger Sultan: the western chaos. Detail of acrylic painting, 'The Child's Room', by Jenny Badger Sultan: the garden.

I felt very happy bringing these two ways of working together in this painting. I once came across a quote from, I believe, Herbert Read (art historian, poet and critic) saying that "the art of the twentieth century is a dialogue between the diagram and the blot." This feels very true to me regarding my own work.

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