Jo Lewis (b. 1967) is a British visual artist whose drawing practice explores the natural flux that underlies our environment, the ?tremors of life? or ?the pulsations of the invisible in which all things are soaked.? (Francois Cheng)
She was drawn to Convento because of its special location by the river Tagus, and her residency took shape with her days spent at the river. Her work is about being not a mere observer of, but a participant and collaborator, with water. Jo uses ink and watercolour, their endless nuance and subtlety associated for centuries with artists that work outside in nature. Each location or encounter results in a series of works that bear witness to that particular place.
During her residency Jo focussed on large works on paper, sculptural concertina ?books,? and also experimented with gesso panels submerged in the flow of the river.
Jo strives for the water to function as creator, allowing water to evoke itself in a fraction of a moment. It is this moment when the moving water, paper and ink all meet, as Jo stands in the river. The water commands the ink and, in doing so, washes it away - it is this tension that Jo is most interested in, and speaks to her of the innate transience within the bodies of water she has devoted her practice to working with. The spontaneous marks allude to the underlying rhythms, tensions and strengths of each. The Tagus near Convento is a wide and animating presence, soon to meet the sea, while still full of the energy of the distant mountains and holding in its path rich farming land. In this rural setting the river anchors the entire community, including the history of Il Convento?s original religious community. Recurring themes in Jo?s work are questions around fragility and permanence, liquidity and absoluteness; the delicate interplay between dynamism and endurance captured on paper. Drawn for many years to the endless uniqueness and power of water, Jo?s practice examines these fragile moments of interaction and the friction between process and still image. Her works hold resolution of irresolution at their core.
Jo trained at the University of Edinburgh and the ?cole des Beaux-Arts in Valence, and is based in south London.
Jo has exhibited in the UK and France and has been commissioned and collected by institutions including Herm?s, Barclays Bank, Cooley Ar Collection, the More London Collection of Contemporary Art, Ripple USA, Ashtead Hospital and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
In 2020 she was shortlisted for the Edge Arts Visions of Science award and recently was invited to present her work at the Drawing Research Network Conference, ?Temporal Drawing.?
Her work has recently been shown at Galerie Papiers d?Art, Paris, Galerie Vitrine 65, Paris and La Gal?rie Val?rie Eym?ric, Lyon.
She was commissioned by SCP Seoul to produce the artwork for the 40m long glass frontage of their flagship store in Beijing and in 2017, supported by the Arts Council, Jo spent a month in residency in south-west China.
The Royal College of Music commissioned Jo as part of the Benjamin Britten centenary, work now in their permanent collection.
For the last 20 years Jo has combined her practice with teaching, predominantly for the National Gallery London and as a visiting lecturer at London Film School and more recently for Paris College of Art. A particular focus has been the development of experiential interdisciplinary drawing workshops for film-makers, screenwriters, and with musicians and composers.
Currently Jo is preparing for upcoming solo shows in London and Lyon and group shows in Valence, Paris and London.
For more information or to be in touch with Jo: