I am proud to say I am now part of XVI Collective, a diverse group of artists committed to peer support and opening new opportunities up around the world.
My current work is concerned with the psychogeography of cities, exploring the idea of the sacred and mystical in the modern world, and specifically urban environments. It seems to me that something that is shaped by the will of so many human minds over hundreds of years must have a higher significance.
So, I have started to pay attention to unacknowledged but familiar sights that exist in cities, derelict buildings, wasteground, markings on the pavement to show where road works will happen, obsolete configurations of pipe work. The work I am developing tries to read meaning into these things and spaces, the markings become the trace of ritual magic performed the night before, the derelict buildings become the spaces that cults gather, wasteground reforms into scared stone circles, pipework secret signs to summon daemons.
Some initial explorations of these ideas that focus on street furniture and signs. These objects are repeatable and so mundane that they are hardly perceived by the habitual city-dweller, but they instruct and dictate our movements, guiding us through the maze of the city, enforcing an underlying set of rules.
Based in my home town of Norwich, I graduated with a BA (hons) in Visual Studies in 2004 from the Norwich Universtity College of the Arts. I am currently working as an freelance educator for various institutions including the Sainsbury's Centre for Visual Art and Norwich Art Centre.
"...Jemma Watts' work seems to be the most striking. “Binge” (1, 2- coloured pencil and photocopy) are forceful, rather Baconesque and vividly pornographic images of two naked, visibly intoxicated women in the centre of a town at night. Their obvious sexualisation is amplified by the use of deep red to emphasise their mouths, shoes and nipples. This orgy of colour is contrasted with the stark greyness of the city landscape; the bleakness of which is representing the emptiness of their lives. “House” (1, 3- etching) gives us images of female entrapment within the intricate outlines of a building. Finally in “Domesticity” project (cliché verre), in what seems to be at first glance an assembly of playful pictures, we encounter sexual violence; this time channelled by a naked woman being assaulted by everyday kitchen objects. Jemma Watts’ pieces speak very loudly about femininity which is constrained and deformed by the contemporary culture..."
"...My favourite of them all was probably Jemma Watts, I absolutely loved the many different facets of her techniques with her subjects, Binge 1 and 6 (unfortunately not for sale or perhaps it is fortunate because you wouldn't know where to put this in your house, a museum would be better) are made of a mix of photocopy and coloured pencil representing women -or are they just plain monsters you could see on the side of hell of a jugdement scene made by the ancient masters like Bosch? The contrast between the blur of the photocopied background and the precision of the pencil' texture is fantastic..."