Photo: Jessie Brennan in London

Jessie Brennan

Artist, Lecturer / academic

Jessie Brennan's practice lies between drawing and participation, informed by the social history of places, and by a direct engagement with the individuals who occupy them. Central to her work is the exchange of local knowledge and personal experiences, memories, folklore and myths between herself and the people within a particular place, situation or context. The information gathered from these exchanges and the process of exchange itself is playfully articulated in meticulously detailed pencil drawings and performances captured in video. Brennan's video installations investigate interactions between individuals looking and being looked at, while the pencil drawings unravel imaginary landscapes assembled from personal information shared between the individuals and the artist. The changing scales interwoven into the fabric of the drawings create a fictionalized space in which incongruous perceptions of time and place coexist. Brennan swaps between a socially active period of gathering research to the private space of the studio where an intimacy between maker and object is formed. The work resonates with the personal memories, anecdotes and stories that inspired it. In the video installations the intimacy is repeated in the process of their making but in a public space. Recorded in a series of video portraits cropped closely to the face or eyes strangers are invited to draw each other's portrait. They engage in a prolonged moment of eye contact and a concentrated, vulnerable and at times awkward process of reciprocated trust resulting from the drawing process. Brennan is interested in the critical framework of drawing and participation as a tool to conceptualize and imagine these experiences. read full statement

Location London
Activities Higher education, Practice-based research, Residencies, Learning programmes, Participatory projects
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Film & Video, Participatory, Performance, Printmaking

News & Events

  • Contemporary Talents 2012

    04/10/2014 – 28/12/2014
    Fondation François Schneider, F-68700 Wattwiller, France

    Jessie Brennan’s work The Cut, which won Contemporary Talents 2012 (Drawing Category) will feature in a group exhibition of prizewinners' work curated by Viktoria von der Brüggen.

    Find out more

  • HS Projects commission

    Jessie Brennan has been invited by HS Projects to conceive a work and exhibition in 2015 with local people in London that resonates with her interests in the city’s changing urban environment.

  • Amsterdam Drawing 2014

    18/09/2014 – 21/09/2014
    Amsterdam Drawing, NDSM-werf, Amsterdam-Noord, Netherlands

    Jessie Brennan will show new work at Amsterdam Drawing with Marian Cramer Projects, Netherlands. Amsterdam Drawing is from 18 - 21 September 2014 and located at NDSM-werf, Amsterdam-Noord.

    Find out more

  • MetalBillboard

    01/09/2014 – 24/09/2014
    Various locations across the city of Peterborough

    Jessie Brennan is one of 10 artists commissioned by Metal as part of Arts Fest in Peterborough. MetalBillboard will run across billboards in Peterborough from 1 - 24 September 2014.

    Find out more


    06/06/2014 – 07/09/2014
    THE FOUNDLING MUSEUM 40 Brunswick Square London WC1N 1AZ

    Progress brings together four contemporary responses to William Hogarth’s moral tale, A Rake’s Progress, by David Hockney, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Grayson Perry and Jessie Brennan.

    Find out more

Follow Jessie