Janina GREEN, Untitled Enlarge 1 /1

Janina GREEN

Essen, Germany born 1944

  • Australia from 1949

Untitled 1988 Description: (Washing in basket)
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Acknowledgement: Purchased 1989
Accession No: NGA 89.254

Because it was more affordable than colour processing, Green began colouring her prints with inks bought from a woman who painted advertising slides for drive-in theatres. She also liked the way hand colouring converted the otherwise 'austere and formal' black-and-white photograph into something that was 'sensual and emotional'.

Green's still lifes reflect a long-held love of Dutch genre painting and her interest in the history of photography-the photographs evoke the distilled still lifes of photographer William Henry Fox Talbot. Mixed into these preoccupations is Green's exploration of the problematic notion of a distinctly female sensibility in art making. The washing basket points to the domestic realm, historically assigned to women and seen as the most appropriate subject for their art. By greatly enlarging the subject matter and painstakingly colouring the prints, the modest subject matter is made to look, in the artist's words, as 'grave and serious as other subjects with a higher moral aura'.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra