about the artist

Jo Ernst is a professional artist, formerly from the Blue Mountains and now based in Mooral Creek, a small community in the hinterland of the Manning Valley. Jo has been involved in the arts all of her working life. In 1980 she completed a dress design course at East Sydney Technical College and worked as a couturier designer for 18 years. This was overlapped by studies in fine art in France with Ted Seth Jacobs and a further three years at Paddington Art School with Stephen Wesley Gorton, leading to a later career as a visual artist and teacher. She has now been teaching, exhibiting and selling her work for over 25 years.

Jo explores the human body as a vessel for the individual’s spirit. Her large, gestural life drawings attempt to capture the personality behind the anatomy. The recipient of numerous prizes, such as the Taree Open Art Exhibition and Manning Art Prize, her work is held in private collections nationally. In early 2018, an exhibition of more than 100 works were displayed in the Manning Regional Art Gallery.

Artist Statement

The body, through its language, movement and posture, reveals its true intent. Traditionally life drawing is regarded as the study of the human form, structure and anatomy. The body however is an empty vehicle without the spirit, which gives it life. As fascinated as I am by its structure, it is the expression of the spirit made manifest through the body that makes the study of the nude intriguing to me. On the other side, the artist, myself, am also a feeling human being. Consequently the work is always about the two of us, as objective as one tries to be. The model is the catalyst and I respond.

This body of work characterises my more recent nudes leaning towards brevity, responding strongly to colour and exploring the melodious qualities of ink. There is the element of not being in control, flowing with that and then pulling something meaningful out of a created chaos.

Drawing nudes has been a major part of my practice for 25 years. Still it remains challenging, uplifting and fun.

Jo Ernst