Reflections of Millais Ophelia , 2019 by Jamie Preisz

Reflections of Millais Ophelia, 2019 by Jamie Preisz

 Jerico Contemporary is delighted to present our third exhibition with Australian artist Jamie Preisz at Sydney Contemporary 2019. The art fair will open on Thursday the 12th of September and continue through to Sunday the 15thof September.

In this captivating new body of work, Preisz brings together another curious assortment of objects to generate and encourage conversations to take place between the artworks and the viewer. The artist’s love for portraiture but resistance to painting it has led him to abstract the concept of what a portrait can be, and thus has developed his own method of depicting the human experience in a series of faceless portraits. Preisz reduces the features of the human face, profile and jawline to inanimate subjects—signifiers and vessels of our everyday personal experiences and ideas, random objects we subscribe ourselves to and come to identify with most. 

Between bright shades of pink and blue, we see Preisz resurrect the spirit of the lifeless. Exploring themes of identity, masquerade and memory throughout the paintings, Preisz facilitates objects from past, present and future the rare chance to find common ground; ultimately forging new meaning in the presence of the viewer. The objects in the paintings exist together harmoniously, despite their conflicting ages and aesthetics—a ram’s skull, a mask and classical bust are positioned beside fake flowers, a helium balloon and lucky cat. They’re autonomous, but also reflective—both literally and figuratively. However uncanny or humorous the painting’s subject matter may be, Preisz’s technique and considered attention to detail does not falter. Inspired by 17thCentury Dutch and Flemish paintings, and most notably Preisz’s favourite artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, works such as The Sacrifice of Isaacand Reflections of Millais Ophelia are anod to some of the artist’s lifelong influences and inspirations. 

The audience is an integral part of the artist’s work. Rather than projecting his own personal perspective or agenda, Preisz leaves the meaning and intention behind his work open to interpretation; focusing rather on the sparkling plethora of possibilities an artwork may present. For Preisz, nothing is more interesting than the chance of individual narratives arising instead, for a natural collision to occur between the observer’s imagination and his own. “I don’t want to dictate the audience how to feel or what I want to say to them…People see me through my work, they can see parts of me, I can give parts of myself away, or they can analyse me. [For instance] The mask is that, it says that this is definitely a side of me, but it’s not all of me. I like the idea of the mask being shiny, because the viewer can see themselves in the mask too.”

A faithful collector of oddities and treasures himself, Preisz has tactfully pared back his newfound still-life aesthetic, allowing each found object the space to come into their own. 

Jamie Preisz in his Sydney-based studio, 2019.

Jamie Preisz in his Sydney-based studio, 2019.


Jamie Preisz was born in Sydney, Australia in 1990. His exhibitions include ‘Hold On’, Jerico Contemporary, Sydney (2018) 'Unrealistic', COMMUNE, Sydney (2017); 'Yalkuna', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2017); ‘Sleep Alone’, Espace quinzequinze, Paris (2014); ‘Tomorrow never knows’, Platform, Sydney (2013); Eternity (with Martin Sharp), Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney (2013). His recent prizes include, Finalist, The Mosman Art Prize (2019); Finalist, The Kennedy Prize (2019); Winner, The Archibald Prize Packing Room Prize (2018); Winner, Peoples Choice Prospect Portrait Prize (2017); Winner, DP World Emerging Artist Prize (2017); Finalist, The Mosman Art Prize (2017); Finalist, The Moran Prize (2017); Finalist, The Waverly Art Prize (2017). The artists' work is in the following collections, Cowra Regional Art Gallery and City of Sydney Art Collection. The artist currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia.