New York based artist CJ Hendry (formerly of Brisbane, Australia), recently showed her solo exhibition RORSCHACH in Brooklyn, NYC. She has made quite a name for herself by using her extremely refined drawing ability to render the photorealistic. Initially, she first stippled in black pen but, in recent years she has ventured into full color with pencil. If you want to find out more about her previous career, I recommend heading to her IG… it’s a pretty interesting ride.
Her RORSCHACH exhibition is plush, colorful, fun, and we see Hendry begin to venture out of her comfort zone creatively and it’s starting to pay off. Why is Hendry venturing into the unknown? Let us wildly speculate.
Take the incredible ‘RORSCHACH’ virtual exhibition tour and see for yourself!
CJ Hendry has been playing with paint for the last few years and rendering its vibrancy of color, textures, and gloss in color pencil. (Hopefully, she might do some paintings one day, as I would love to see what comes out of her). For RORSCHACH, she played with the paint just like we use to do as kids… making those fun little “squish” paintings that you blob paint onto a bit of paper and then fold it in half to make a mirrored pattern on both sides of the paper. The fun of this, as kids, was to see these shapes and forms that our brains would make from them… sometimes animals, trees, butterflies, or body parts. Hendry used her refined drawing talents to render these plush, mirrored shapes into seemingly drawn photographs.
These drawings let us imagine forms and shapes that remind us of the world around us. The images our minds create have been used by physiologists to analyze subconscious thinking. The namesake of the exhibition come from the Rorschach inkblot test, named after its inventor Hermann Rorschach, which is an interesting path to research. These inkblots are shown to a patient and their response claims to reveal the true thoughts of the viewer.
What you see in CJ Hendry’s ‘inkblots’ might tell you a little about yourself.
Hendry created 32 Rorschach inspired ‘paint blots’ for the show, which are exceptionally well-rendered and are a beauty to behold. But it is in the curation of the entire show where Hendry has made her creative leap, and I think she nailed it. She installed a MASSIVE BOUNCY CASTLE that mimicked the padded white walls of an insane asylum. Pure fun. Pure bounce. It was such a stark difference to the typical bouncy castles you see out there as well. It is doubtful that any padded castles like this would exist outside of a Custom Inflatables rig and that helped make this experience even more memorable.
Let us be honest, exhibitions are pretty sterile environments. At an exhibition opening, the viewers seem more engaged in the gossip of its attendees than a few minutes of looking at artwork. There is this uncomfortable tension as we seem to watch each other intensely. The asylum-white walls enhance the sterility of these places, pushing people straight back to the comfort of uniformity, wine, and gossip. This experience of the space – and the viewer – is where I suspect the catalyst for Hendry’s overall curation of the RORSCHACH exhibition has come about. The massive bouncy castle is perhaps a vehicle to engage the viewer, allowing the break-up of the sterile environment that other exhibitions cultivate. The viewer has to make their way through the bouncy castle to make it to Hendry’s works; forcing a playful, childish experience that we seem to lose in our day to day lives.