Jacqui Dean

Stumbling across the artwork of JACQUI DEAN was a very special occasion as not only did I have the up-close experience of viewing her tender and textured organic portraits but I also had the joy of meeting the photographer herself...and an entourage of her friends who look to her as a mentor as well as companion.
It was a Thursday and I had the evening off, which hadn't happened in too long a time.
So I had a date night with a gallery in Waterloo in Sydney - Danks Street - it is quite the artistic hub with a plethora of galleries ranging in styles as diverse as they come. One which caught my eye online was closing by the time I arrived so I wandered across the corridor. An inviting large glass window draws you in to a quiet and welcoming space.
With my face as close as possible to the beautifully captured monochromatic framed flowers and plants I heard light footsteps. While trying to unpuzzle the process of how these characters were brought to life and put on display a woman greets me as she sets out some wine glasses. She inquires if I am here for the opening. No - but I am so impressed to see such work that gives an insight into these plants and reminds me of etchings and charcoal trials of which I have endeavoured to capture. I ask if she knows how they are done. She does, as they are hers.
What an honour to meet the captor and creator of these seemingly simple but richly uncovered pieces.
I help put out some refreshments with her and learn about this fascinating woman, mainly her warmth and down to earth attitude, but her beauty and ability to capture beauty strongly pervade.
Her friends and students inform me of her talent, not that it was apparent in her work, but it just emphasised the high regard held for the artist as a person who has inspired and encouraged many.

I was looking forward to having more time with the pieces myself to examine these even closer, conjuring up my own ideas of how she expelled such quiet and strong pieces. Photography! She is a highly renowned photographer, winning multi-award Grand Master of Photography amongst her accolades. But these were black and white images not like I had seen before. There was such tonality and fine lineage of petals and leaves, it was a joy to witness. But she has her unique format of capturing these characters-not a camera- but an x-ray machine. That explains the extra bit of life that seems to ooze out of these flowers-they are not only examined externally but the detail comes from presenting them as a whole -with internal growing features. Looking around the room, however, is not like viewing plants alone but they appear as portraits, with each one having a personality, a history, an oddity about them.
I was truly inspired and loved the discussion with people on their preferred pieces-as interesting personal anecdotes were revealed.
Thank you JACQUI! It was more than an exhibition for me - while opening your doors and arms to me you also opened my eyes. I hope to capture that specialness, someday.