by Tom Patterson, The Charlotte Observer, reviewing the 18th Waterworks Invitational Exhibition, Salisbury, NC

“…The first thing you notice about Jardine’s oil paintings, watercolors and drawings is her superb technique. A former Charlotte artist now living in Chapel Hill, she is a skilled pictorial realist whose thematic focus is domestic life. Incorporating elements of traditional genres such as portraiture and still-life painting, her oils and watercolors are set in her own home. The individuals who appear in them are friends and family.

As traditional as her methods are and as ordinary as her subject matter may be, Jardine doesn’t just turn out pretty, nostalgically comforting images. Her work has a distinctly contemporary edge that comes through in her choice of details and the way she juxtaposes them for maximum metaphorical resonance.

Among the symbolically significant characters and props that appear alongside her friends and family in these works are homemade dolls, exotic flowers, ripe fruit, reproductions of famous artworks, a small dog that is either pregnant or nursing, and various small sharp implements – scissors, knives, needles.

Each of Jardine’s two largest oils is a tour de force of rich detail and vivid, thought-provoking imagery. The central subject of both paintings is a young boy, probably her son, and in the background of both is the same man, probably her husband.

Jardine references the 17th century Spanish court painter Diego Velazquez in the title and in several details of one of these large oils, The Court Dwarf Maribarbola, and Other Pets. Here the young boy lies under a knit afghan on a wicker couch, while the man stands behind the couch folding a brightly decorated tablecloth.

The boy’s posture in this painting and the teapot, teacup and tangerines on the end table in front of him suggest he’s recuperating from a cold or some other minor illness. But he’s surrounded by embodiments of healthy growth and thriving life, including potted plants and flowers, sprouting potatoes on a nearby chair, sunlight pouring in a window at the right, and the small mother dog lying on the floor in the lower foreground amid her puppies and a scattering of flower petals.

Several details in this painting’s lower foreground convey a sense of underlying tension and suffering, and these give the painting its symbolic edge. A sharp-pointed paring knife, for example, rests among the sprouting potatoes, as if ready to cut off their young shoots and prevent them from reproducing themselves. And the mother dog’s face looks troubled, as if she’s exhausted from feeding her young or worried about two or three of her puppies that look as if they could be dead rather than just sleeping.

Jardine’s smaller drawings show another side of her work. Among these are three that include informal, semi-nude self-portraits of the artist in her studio; in others, she draws from live nude models; three others depict mobile homes and a TV satellite dish in rural settings…”

return to the Reviews page